News from Anna Soubry MP
There has been an important announcement today by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Eric has overall responsibility for planning matters and today he announced the abolition of the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). I know, planning and jargon tend to go hand in hand.
The East of England does not include the East Midlands and we have our own RSS. These Strategies were set up by the last Government and are responsible for determining top down housing targets resulting in Broxtowe, with the agreement and positive endorsement by the ruling Coalition on the Borough Council, having a housing target of 6,150 houses.
As regular readers will know we don’t have enough brown field land for more than 3-3,500 homes, so the rest are set to be built on Green Belt land.
As you may also know, the Government promised to abolish RSS’s to give Councils the right to work with their residents and determine their own housing targets. Abolishing the RSS’s has been a long and somewhat difficult process. But today the first was abolished. You can read why by clicking here <http://e-mailshot-mailer.co.uk/BLC-13TBM-6EDVND-FKKH2-1/c.aspx>
It is worth remembering that our Council not only accepted the RSS target, but actually put forward a Green Belt site at Field Farm as top of the list of preferred sites. Accepting the target has caused propsed applications for 750 houses on Green Belt land at Toton and 734 on Green Belt land at Nuthall. Meanwhile brown field sites lie barren.
The Conservatives on the Borough Council opposed the target and I have been campaigning with them, for some years now against development on our Green Belt. I believe Broxtowe should assess its own housing need and not move the Green Belt boundaries. I have held over a dozen public meetings and overwhelmingly people have agreed.
Unfortunately, their elected Labour and Lib Dem Borough Councillors have ignored the wishes of the people they are meant to represent.
Rushcliffe Borough Council chose to leave the group of Councils Broxtowe continues to lead. Rushcliffe tried to determine their own housing need, listened and worked with its residents and tried to protect their Green Belt land.
Yesterday, the Inspector criticised their approach and their plan. You can read a report in the Nottingham Post that gives a balanced account. Please click on Nottingham Post <http://e-mailshot-mailer.co.uk/BLC-13TBM-6EDVND-FKKH3-1/c.aspx>
The Inspector is currently bound by the RSS for the East Midlands. Following yesterdays announcement about Rushcliffe I wrote to Eric Pickles; you can read my letter on my web site www.annasoubry.org.uk<http://e-mailshot-mailer.co.uk/BLC-13TBM-6EDVND-FKJF8-1/c.aspx> along with my letter to the leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council. You will note an email I received from Councillor David Watts yesterday and my reply.
Of course we don’t know if, following the abolition of the East of England RSS, the East Midlands RSS will also be abolished.
We do know what the abolition means for people in the East of England because as Eric says;
“Planning and house building works best when it is locally-led and from 3 January 2013 councils and local people across the former government office region for the East of England once again have control of deciding and shaping development in the places where they live.”
On the basis that our RSS is abolished people in Rushcliffe looks set to enjoy those benefits. Unfortunately, our Council remains doggedly determined to continue to build on our Green Belt and deny you a voice.
I will send out my usual email newsletter in the next or so and of course provide you with any response from Eric Pickles or any news about the future of our RSS and what that will mean.
Anna Soubry MP