Reaction to the Autumn Statement

CPRE has reacted to the Autumn Statement and Spending Review, where the Chancellor made a number of announcements on issues affecting the countryside.

Housing:

We have long been asking the Government to stop fixating on the planning system. Figures show that planning permissions are not the issue; the issue is that developers are not building the homes for which they have permission. Landbanking is a major problem and we are saying to developers to get on and build to deliver the housing we need.

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Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the CPRE comments:

“Although we welcome a focus on brownfield development, we’re wary of moves to develop brownfield sites in the Green Belt – many Green Belt sites classed as ‘brownfield’ contain a lot of valuable open land, often historic parkland, which should be kept undeveloped.

“The Chancellor wasn’t clear on the implications of the ‘delivery test’ for local authorities on housing, but we’d remind him that our recent Set up to fail report found most or all current local plan housing targets to be undeliverable because of the reliance on private sector builders to deliver on the targets set. A ‘delivery test’ should therefore apply to developers and the Government (through providing necessary supporting infrastructure funding) as well as local authorities.

“We also remain keen to hear more about the previously promised £1 billion Brownfield Fund and would like to see a greater emphasis on local consultation and neighbourhood plans.”

£250m funding to alleviate Operation Stack

Hilary Newport, director of CPRE Kent, says:

“We welcome the national commitment to address the huge problems caused by operation Stack but we do not want to see one huge lorry park built on green fields. We are looking for a solution which will not only cope with lorries when there are delays at the port or tunnel but will also tackle the recurrent chronic problem of overnight parking by lorries on unsuitable Kent roads. We also want to ensure the commercial operations of the existing lorry parks such as Stop 24 are not prejudiced by a huge area of countryside being tarmacked over.”

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Designated landscapes:

Emma Marrington, CPRE’s senior rural policy campaigner, says:

“It is great news that the Government has committed to a secure funding programme for National Parks and AONBs, following the recent announcement that the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks will be extended.

“England’s designated landscapes are hugely valuable to the nation and offer great bang for the buck. They are visited by 260 million people annually, who spend in excess of £6 billion and support thousands of jobs and businesses – all for less than £1 a person in public spending each year. We hope that this news will mean a more secure future for our most beautiful landscapes.”

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November 30th 2015

 

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