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Green Belt Under Threat!!!

Affordable housing rule 'threatens green belt'. Ministers are attempting to pressure councils into building more homes on countryside land, campaigners yesterday warned, as Nick Boles attacked people opposing developments on green fields.

Mr Boles wants there to be a “legal obligation” for town halls to build affordable homes if local house prices and rents rise above a certain limit.

He said that town halls should be forced to build new homes if prices soar, potentially meaning that developments previously blocked by councils would be allowed to go ahead.

Critics last night warned that the Government is “moving another step away from protecting the countryside from unnecessary development”.

The Government has torn up thousands of pages of planning rules in a bid to add “much needed simplicity and clarity” to the system.

Mr Boles claimed that the new guidance will “reinforce all green belt and envi­ron­mental protections”.

However, yesterday it emerged that Mr Boles had yet again criticised rural campaigners who have opposed his contro­ver­sial plans.

“Anyone currently in a house is living on what used to be a green field,” Mr Boles told The Sun newspaper. Why is it ok for them but not others?”

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said that Mr Boles’ proposals for a new “affor­dability test” would result in “unnecessary loss of countryside and deliver very little affordable housing”.

The new guidance was issued following a review last year by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor who concluded that up to 80 per cent of the 7,000 rules governing where development can take place should go.

Lord Taylor was appointed to review thousands of pages of planning guidance which underlies the NPPF.

His review found that existing guidance was “not fit for purpose”.

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