Rural campaigners in the East of England have warned David Cameron over his planning policy, saying if he allows “precious countryside” to be built over it will be gone forever.

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The comments from the Eastern region’s Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) come after Mr Cameron told MPs the country needs to build on greenfield to meet housing demand.

The prime minister said: “If we want to build more houses, we will have to build on some greenfield sites.”

Mr Cameron’s government has repeatedly targeted the planning system for reform, claiming it is holding back development and the economic growth it can bring.

However Michael Monk, who speaks on behalf of the East of England’s CPRE and himself is chairman of the Cambridge branch, disagreed.

He said: “We do recognise that we need more houses, but that we have to accept the reason more houses aren’t being built is not because of planning restrictions but because of the current economic situation.

“I strongly support regeneration in urban areas and the development of brownfield sites, which must come first.

“CPRE research indicates there is sufficient brownfield land to build 1.5m homes in the UK - that has to come first before we use up our dwindling and precious countryside - when it’s gone, it’s gone. We don’t get it back.”

He added: “I want to underline strongly the point that there is no going back.”

Mr Monk said the CPRE did accept the possibility some greenfield sites would have to be developed, but only as an absolute last resort.

Discussing wider coalition planning policy he said: “We’re concerned about the motivation behind some reforms; that they’re intended to weaken, rather than reform the planning system.”

5 comments

  • You dont think this is going to worry the tories do you ?. As long as they are pampering and "sucking up" to their developer friends, they are not going to care about the rest of the populas.

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    "V"

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • Cameron can be stopped in his tracks.Simply by the LibDems saying NO. Well Mr Lamb? Are you and your party the Nu Tories or still have vestige of the LibDems in you? Cameron must be stopped . One of the first things he tried to do was sell off Forests and Parks to his developer friends. Getting rid of the Green Belt is just another approach to the same end.

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    norman hall

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • Developer friends? What about greedy landowners? 99.9% Tories the lot of them I can assure you. Every instance of a local development plan revision or the like by a rural planning authority draws reams of applications from landowners and their agents desperate to have the guidelines moved in their favour so they can inundate the countryside with new housing. Not housing that would help any young local people to get on the property ladder, oh no, the landowners and developers set their sites on ridiculous 'exec style' properties, because that's where the big money is to be made. And with our current depressed economy, its only top earners who are benefiting enough to have money to invest in new property. So everyone's a winner, or at least everyone who DC genuinely cares about keeping happy. He says we need more housing, but for whose benefit, after last month relaxing the rules that required a proportion to be affordable. Hypocrite! He wants to heard poor people into housing association ghettos in towns and cities, keeping the countryside 'pure' with rich folk.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • So, we now plan to build on irreplaceable land, houses which currently cannot be sold.(even though we are awash with brownfield sites) We now plan to cover agricultural land with solar panels therby making it impossible for that land to grow food.(Even though there is a far greater need for food than electricity) We plan to install more wind turbines we already know don't work, and that no-one wants (except greedy landowners and even more greedy wind turbine installation companies) It seems to me that we are planning to do all sorts of things which no-one wants, or, at the very least, can afford to buy or use. This would be hard to make up!

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    Windless

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • Mr. Cameron should ensure that these new houses are build to a certain standard laid out in the code for sustainable housing, not rabbit hutches where you can't get a large chair upstairs or a king size bed installed. Building more houses is essential, but their affordability in times of economic hardship and the current stalled housing market makes this a wishful undertaking.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

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