Barbara Keeley

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Barbara's Salford Advertiser Column, 25th August 2011

Planning and development have a big impact on local people. Residents care about where new developments go in their neighbourhood.

Radical changes to planning policy should be looked at carefully by politicians and by those communities that will be affected. But this is difficult to do when the Conservative-led Government brings out radical changes to planning policy over the summer, when Parliament is not sitting.

The Government’s new national planning policy framework makes big changes to planning policy which will affect local decisions about the future development of housing and businesses. I believe these major policy changes will result in the loss of greenfield land.

The Government’s new policy states that councils like Salford should make planning decisions based on economic growth and that the council should approve all individual proposals where possible. Many people see this policy as making it easier for developers to build on greenfield land.

It will affect Salford Council’s role in deciding where housing should be built, such as at Burgess Farm in Walkden. I have been campaigning alongside local residents to keep the urban farm there, but I was told by a council officer that the Government’s changes to planning will be a “significant” factor in how such decisions are made.

The Conservative-led Government is paving the way for development for the sake of growth, without any consideration of the impact on local communities. We will lose green open spaces. Developments of 500 houses on sites like Burgess Farm could also put serious strains on local schools, roads and public transport.

MPs have had little chance so far to debate the planning reforms but I urge the Government to think again about these proposals and consider the impact they will have on our green open spaces. I will continue to fight these proposals on behalf of local people.

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