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Developers could build all over our green belt
GREEN belt land could be at the mercy of housing developers because councils have failed to create planning blueprints in time.
Basildon and Castle Point councils have failed to get local development frameworks - a planning guide of what goes where over the next 20 years - published before changes that will favour house builders come into force.
It means from March 28, when the Government’s national planning policy framework goes live, their council planning committees will have to favour developers putting forward “sustainable” housing estates even if the applications are on green belt.
Richard Moore, Tory councillor in charge of planning at Basildon Council, has spoken of his concern and called for a delay on the national policy coming into force.
He wrote: “The councils will now be vulnerable to the national planning policy framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development and the councils will be at risk of a development free-for-all. “
The Campaign to Protect Rural England is right to call for the Government to delay the introduction of the rules to give councils more time to prepare.”
Tony Ball, Tory leader of Basildon Council, conceded the weakness could lead to a flood of planning applications from developers, some who own large areas of green belt across south Essex, before the development frameworks are published.
Basildon is expected to publish its one in the summer, while Castle Point will follow in early in 2014.
Nigel Smith, Basildon Labour group leader, said: “The Tory administration has let down local residents, because they can’t express their concerns or objections with any likelihood of success.
“People don’t know where they stand since the new system gives the definite advantage to the developer and not residents opposing any plans, this position we are in takes away a defence of the council. If they had got their own policy in place we would not be at the mercy of a national policy.”