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Minister approves house building on stretch of green belt

Tue 12 Apr 2016

Communities secretary Greg Clarke has given his approval to a house building development on a stretch of green belt in Gloucester.

Green belt sites were designated as protected countryside to limit urban sprawl, although the planning regulations state that construction activity is allowed around towns and cities in certain circumstances.

The minister has approved the planned development in Gloucester, which will lead to 1,500 new properties being built, as he believes there is a significant need for housing in the area.

As a result, developers might be able to cite similar reasons in future in order to proceed with building projects on other protected sites.

Mr Clarke acknowledged in the ruling that the plans will harm the green belt, but insisted the homes would offer a "substantial benefit" to the community.

Nevertheless, the decision has drawn criticism from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which said it is "worried about the principle that is being set down", the Telegraph reports.

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the body, said it is telling local authorities "that housing need might be a reason for building on the green belt".

He argued it will "certainly" encourage developers to push more sites forward and represents a "step in the wrong direction".

The ruling is also likely to be controversial in light of comments made prior to last year's general election.

For instance, prime minister David Cameron insisted that "protecting the lungs around our cities is paramount" and that "green belt land is extremely precious".

For more information on this, please contact Karen Cooksley, a partner in Winckworth Sherwood's Planning Team.

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