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Planning White Paper ‘May Protect Green Belt But Threatens Democracy and Quality’

Published on: 7 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 9 Aug, 2020

Green belt land south of Guildford.

The London Green Belt Council (LGBC), representing more than 100 local community organisations and amenity societies across London and the Home Counties, says the government’s proposals for planning reform provides some protection for green belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty but threatens to undermine local democracy and restrict community involvement in planning.

The Planning White Paper by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) was released today (August 6). Andy Smith, LGBC secretary, said: “We are disappointed that ministers have missed this opportunity to strengthen local democracy and have instead opted for policies that circumvent local communities.

“We are also concerned about potential reductions in building standards resulting from the government’s intention to ‘fast-track’ developments at the expense of quality and the environment.”

The LGBC will be participating in the government’s consultation on the White Paper and is urging communities throughout London and the South East to “have their say, and to bring pressure to bear on ministers to ‘think again’ about planning”.

Mr Smith adds: “The priority for any reforms to the planning system should be to increase public participation and to improve the quality and environmental sustainability of new developments.

“The White Paper’s reaffirmation of the important role of the green belt is very welcome, but there is a danger the current proposals from ministers will lead to a massive reduction in local democracy and accountability, which will harm the environment and will benefit only the developers and their profits.”

Reaction to this story has been invited which we hope to publish later.

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Responses to Planning White Paper ‘May Protect Green Belt But Threatens Democracy and Quality’

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    August 8, 2020 at 10:08 am

    I think GBC should be taking a long hard look at this, as it will require the green belt to be protected; therefore the status of the villages “inset” in the green belt will have to be revised.

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