Successful campaigning saves Green Belt!
CPRE Lancashire and its West Lancashire District Group, with the support of some parish councils and local groups commissioned Piers Elias, an expert demographer who reviewed the proposed housing figures. The CPRE response with the demographic appraisal report appended, evidenced how jobs growth and housing numbers were flawed and wrongly inflated.
CPRE also highlighted that the harm to high grade farmland in designated Green Belt would be significant. Our countryside charity showed that the planning balance of adverse impacts compared to the benefits from development was entirely negative. It made the point that rural jobs and farm produce will be important in the future and high grade farm land should be kept in agricultural use. Growth should be directed at urban centres such as Liverpool and Greater Manchester City Regions, reusing the significant amount of previously used land in advance of farm fields.
The response helped persuade West Lancashire Borough Council’s politicians, who are accountable to local people, to do the right thing and think again, and to ensure planners review the figures for both lower jobs growth and lower housing numbers to help save highest grade farmland in the protected Green Belt. CPRE Lancashire is keen to see rural landscapes, and importantly rural jobs protected in the future.
Jackie Copley, Planning Manager said: “We want enough needed jobs and houses to be planned, but we oppose excessive growth based on flawed assumptions. We think all that could be done to focus development at existing towns and cities, and the brownfield sites in them, should be done. Bulldozing farmland, particularly the highest grade should not happen at all. Future generations must be able to feed themselves, so we should not build over countryside too easily.”