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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Friends of the Earth launches campaign to protect 'Calderdale's green fields ? in peril!'

As the political battleground over planning reform intensifies - with the Labour Party now joining a growing coalition which already includes the National Trust, Campaign for Protection of Rural England and the Green Party - Friends of the Earth is drawing attention to what might happen here in Calderdale if these controversial proposals are pushed through by the Coalition Government.

In a campaign launching today the environmental campaigning organisation is claiming that the planned introduction of a ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ (NPPF) ? almost unknown and undebated locally, which reduces hundreds of pages of detailed guidance to just 58, and includes a ‘presumption in favour of development’ - will effectively strip greenfield sites across Calderdale of the protection they have been given in recent years, putting them at the mercy of property developers who will ‘cherry pick’ them rather than invest in sustainable and affordable housing at brownfield locations.

Anthony Rae, coordinator of Calderdale Friends of the Earth, said: “The complete removal of any preference in favour of developing housing on ‘brownfield sites before greenfield’ will put more than 300 greenfield sites across Calderdale and around 450 hectares of land - that's the size of about 625 football pitches! - at risk.  All these sites have just been comprehensively surveyed in the recent Calderdale Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, so developers can just thumb through the catalogue.”

In a letter addressed to Councillor Battye, Leader of the Council, and Craig Whittaker MP for Calder Valley - the representatives of the Coalition Government parties here in Calderdale - Friends of the Earth points to the repercussions to come: “By the time local communities find out what has been done, and what your two parties have supported, it will be too late.  We suspect that their anger - as they see property developers grabbing precious green sites that they have long treasured, but which they will now not be able to defend - will be great indeed.”

Friends of the Earth are calling on the two politicians to publicly express their opposition to the draft NPPF and to submit a consultation response by the deadline (17th October) calling for it to be withdrawn. They’re also urging communities and individuals across Calderdale to join in the campaign by taking action at: www.foe.co.uk/groups/calderdale/

See also:

HebWeb Forum: Calderdale's green fields - in peril! (Sept 2011)


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