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CPRE responds to PM’s comments on Planning

19 March 2012

Today the Prime Minster gave a speech on national infrastructure to the Institute of Civil Engineering [1]. In the speech the PM made reference to highly controversial planning reforms expected to be published with the Budget on Wednesday.

Neil Sinden, Director of Policy for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), says: “The Prime Minister shows a disturbing misunderstanding of planning when he suggests that to prevent housing ‘sprawling over the countryside’ we must seek only to protect our 'Green Belts and National Parks'.

“The majority of the countryside does not enjoy any national designation or special protection. If the Government's planning reforms remain unchanged from the draft published last year, pressure for sprawling development is precisely what we can expect. Even in David Cameron’s own constituency of Witney, 55% of the countryside is undesignated and would be at increased risk of inappropriate development.

“No one is trying to stop all development. Clearly the country needs new housing and some of this is likely to be on greenfield sites. But unless the final NPPF recognises the intrinsic value of our countryside as a whole, we fear a rash of sporadic and inappropriate development across the country, disfiguring the rural landscape which is so valued by local communities. I very much hope that even at this eleventh hour the Prime Minister will stand up for the countryside as a whole, not just for our Green Belt and most special landscapes.”

End

Notes to Editors
[1] Transcript of the Speech http://bit.ly/FPFadJ

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