Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cambridge MP Urges Prime Minister To Rethink Planning Reforms


MP Julian Huppert has called on Prime Minister, David Cameron to rethink a major shake-up of planning policy to protect the environment.

Julian joined 44 other MPs in a letter to express their fears for the future of the countryside from the planning reform.

“We realise there are some serious problems with the drafting that would make it difficult for the government to realise fully its ambitions for planning reform and to be the ‘greenest ever’,” the letter, which was leaked to the Daily Telegraph, said.

“We all support a simpler system with more local control, but this should not come at the expense of the ability of planning to protect and enhance the environment.”

The letter proposes changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and says the final document should make explicit reference to:

  •  The need to use suitable brownfield land for development before green fields in order to prevent unsustainable urban sprawl;
  • The intrinsic value of the ordinary, undesignated countryside which is loved so much by the local communities we represent;
  • A commitment to genuinely sustainable development that does not prioritise short term economic interests over long term quality of life and wellbeing.

“An effective planning system is central to protecting our rural areas from urban sprawl and inappropriate, sporadic development,” the letter adds.

“We ask you to ensure that the final NPPF enables us to secure the growth and development the nation needs while safeguarding one of our most valuable environmental assets, the English countryside, for future generations.”

Julian said: “It is vitally important that we get this planning document right to make sure that our countryside is given the protection it needs for future generations. Mistakes that we make now will not be easily undone and could impact on our environment for years to come. We need more housing around Cambridge, especially affordable housing. But I believe it is possible to achieve this while also protecting the countryside.”