James and Mayor Andy Burnham discussing housing and the green belt in Bury
James and Mayor Andy Burnham discussing housing and the green belt in Bury

Bury North MP James Frith has hit out at Government changes to planning rules which give developers even more power and allow local objections to housebuilding to be overruled more easily in order to hit central targets.

The changes announced by the Government allow housebuilders to ignore locally developed plans which map out appropriate sites for housing if councils fail to meet centrally set housebuilding targets imposed by Ministers.

Changes to the National Planning Policy Framework came as senior Tory Minister Liz Truss said that she believes more houses should be built on the green belt. Speaking to a newspaper, the Treasury Minister said: “I do think we need to open up more [green belt] land for building, a lot more.”

A new report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England has also revealed that almost half a million homes planned for green belt land won’t be affordable for most people.

James said:

“Over 2,000 local people completed my annual survey last year and more than 90% of them made clear their view that it should be councils and communities and not ministers in central government who determine where and how many houses to build locally.

“This latest rule change is really a developer’s charter which allows housebuilders to ride roughshod over the wishes of local communities, ignoring objections to build on land residents and councillors have deemed unsuitable. And the Minister’s comments make clear that the Government is determined to push ahead with removing our green belt.

“I will continue fighting against this Government’s planning power grab in Parliament and working locally with Bury Council and Mayor Andy Burnham to develop a brownfield-first housing strategy which builds the houses we need whilst protecting our green belt and listening to the views of local communities.”

Watch James’s speech on housing and the green belt in Parliament earlier this year below

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