Green Belt under threat claim

A CAMPAIGNER has joined a growing move against government plans he claims will allow development on Green Belt land

Clive Porter’s petition joins ones distributed by the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England who are concerned about the streamlining of planning rules.

The proposal may see the national planning policy guidelines slashed from 1,300 pages to just 52.

Mr Porter said: “It is the stringent planning rules that have managed to retain a reasonable balance of quality of life throughout this country and keep the beauty of some of our best areas.

“We are a diminutive densely packed nation with only a few miles separating each community. Neither can we afford to lose areas of highly fertile agriculture land, with an ever increasing number of mouths to feed.

“We must act now to retain our quality. The green belt must remain sacrosanct.”

For the first time in The National Trust’s history the charity will mobilise its 3.6million members against the proposals and urge every visitor to its sites to sign a petition – with one available at Wimpole Hall, Royston.

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A spokesman for the organisation said: “The National Trust is a charity that exists to promote for the benefit of the nation the preservation of places of historic interest and natural beauty.

“This goes beyond the places we own. If the countryside or our heritage is under threat, we have a clear responsibility to stand up for it and the people who love it.

“For decades the planning system has guided development to the places that need it. It has protected open countryside, prevented sprawl and safeguarded the historic character of our cities, towns and villages.

“But now, through its draft National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) published in July, the Government wants to change the planning system into a tool to promote economic growth above all else. Let me stress that the National Trust does support the need for economic growth – just not at any cost.

“We believe that these changes, which are supposedly in the public interest, come at far too high a price.”