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Government lifts holding decision on Birmingham local plan

24 November 2016

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid yesterday lifted the Government holding direction on the Birmingham local plan. The plan, which proposes the release of Green Belt land for 6,000 houses, had been placed under a holding direction by Mr Javid's predecessor, Greg Clark, after concerns were raised with the Green Belt allocation.

In lifting the holding decision, which allows the plan to move towards the adoption stage, Mr Javid said that where "local councils come forward with sensible, robust local plans – and are willing to take the tough decisions", he will "back them all the way".

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), commented on the Government's decision:

"This was really too late in the day for Government to change the decision. It should have intervened earlier to prevent such a significant loss of Green Belt. We believe that priority should be given to the huge untapped potential for brownfield regeneration, both within Birmingham itself and in the wider West Midlands conurbation.

“The Secretary of State came into office pledging to protect the Green Belt as ‘sacrosanct’, but his determination to support this Green Belt loss does not augur well.

“Councils are under more pressure than ever to set high housing targets. Ministers must show that they are prepared to stand up to councils who are prepared to allow developers to cherry pick Green Belt sites, but support those who set lower housing targets because of Green Belt.”

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