Published at 07:41, Wednesday, 19 December 2012
THE Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in Northumberland supports the principles behind the ‘Protect Hexham’s Green Belt’ petition.
CPRE across the North-East is supporting similar groups campaigning against threats to green belt in Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham City and North Tyneside.
In Northumberland, we are commenting on the Northumberland Core Strategy – the countywide planning strategy being produced by Northumberland County Council – as it emerges. This is the policy document which may (or may not) propose the removal of land from the Tyne Valley green belt to build houses.
We suggest that the Protect Hexham’s Green Belt campaign and all your readers watch out for the county council’s ‘Preferred Options’ document which we understand will be out for consultation on February 6.
The county council, like all other local authorities, is under pressure from Government to review green belt designations.
CPRE has come up with a series of key tests for such green belt reviews and these are:
Has the local planning authority considered alternatives to developing green belt land, such as using suitable brownfield sites?
Is the review based on an evaluation of the land against the five purposes and intentions of green belt policy?
Has there been public consultation on the review? We know that Durham County Council consulted on its green belt review methodology but we are not certain that Northumberland has.
Is the review registering the environmental qualities and other relevant factors (such as flood risk) relating to the site?
These are the questions we are putting to the council through the Core Strategy consultation process, as well as carefully scrutinising the housing allocation numbers they come up with.
CPRE Campaigns and Policy Officer (North- East)
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk