Planning rules must not ‘tear the hearts out’ of rural communities, warn Tory MPs
The government’s planning rules must not “tear the hearts out” of rural communities, Tory MPs warned, as they said if done wrong it could cost the party votes. On the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, James Sunderland, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, urged building “more affordable homes” in “areas that have the capacity to absorb it.” He said: “ To put it bluntly, this cannot be done at the expense of the quality of life enjoyed by our constituents, especially in the South East, and it must not include construction on the green belt, eroding what is left of our open spaces or ripping out the hearts of our rural communities. Meanwhile, former Conservative Minister Crispin Blunt added that it was opposition to planning proposals that led Tories to lose overall control of many district and borough councils in the recent local elections. Mr Blunt referred to the borough of Reigate and Banstead which “remains a district or borough council under conservative control” as an example that “almost always, in all of these cases, people feel disenfranchised and estranged. of the planning process. ”He warned that“ unless things change, it will only get worse ”and that“ the noise around developers connecting with the Conservative Party and delivering a system run by in-house developers are going to haunt us in the future if we don’t take care of them ”. Former Cabinet Minister Dr Liam Fox added that the purpose of the green belt was “to stop urban sprawl and stop pouring concrete into our countryside.” He warned that “once he’s gone he’s gone forever.” “It is therefore our duty to protect it for future generations rather than giving way in one way or another to short-term interests,” added Dr Fox. He said that the goals set by the government “must be weighed against other interests that the government may have stated, for example, the green belt, for example, not wanting to build on flood plains, for example, without damaging our exceptional natural areas. beauty “. “These are difficult balances to achieve and they are always controversial in any given area,” he said.