• Issue 51

  • Oct 2019

The Source

Brownfield, Brownfield, Brownfield

Ester McVey MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, has intervened in the preparation of the Broxtowe Local Plan issuing a letter after consideration of the Fact Check Inspector’s Report following the Examination.

Whilst the Minister welcomes the progress made with the Broxtowe Local Plan and the fact that it seeks to deliver the wider growth ambitions for Greater Nottingham, she expresses concern that the Plan contains a number of alterations to Green Belt boundaries.

In the letter, the Minister emphasises the importance that the government places on both maximising the use of previously developed land and limiting the pressure on undeveloped Green Belt land. However, the Minister also points out that the Inspector has found that Exceptional Circumstances exist to justify amendments to Green belt boundaries including the need for housing, the lack of suitable alternatives in sequentially more sustainable locations outside of the Green Belt and the limited impact that the alterations would have on the openness of the Green Belt.

What is surprising therefore, is that given these justifications, and the Inspector finding the approach to be a sound one, the Minister is still requesting additional reassurance for the council that it has done everything possible to prioritise redevelopment opportunities on previously developed land through the Local Plan.

The prioritisation of brownfield land has been at the centre of several of the Minister’s speeches since taking office in July 2019. However, a response from Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government has clarified that the Minister’s comments do not indicate a shift in government policy away from that set out in the National Planning Policy Framework 2019.

The clear challenge therefore for Local Planning Authorities, will be finding sufficient suitable, available, viable and deliverable brownfield sites, in locations where people want to live, of a size that will be attractive to developers, that will deliver the services, facilities and affordable housing required to support local communities.