Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Told you so

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8 September 2014 

Five year land supply threatens our countryside.

A new report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England illustrates the potential damaging impact of the Government’s five year land supply policy on Cambridgeshire’s countryside.

CPRE’s Cambridgeshire Branch says the paper, “Targeting the Countryside,” shows that steep targets for the amount of land councils must allocate for housing, opens the door to major developments in the countryside.


South Cambridgeshire in particular faces the prospect of further countryside sites being lost to development following the application that was allowed at appeal for Bannold Road in Waterbeach on the grounds that there was not a 5 year land supply. Sites at risk include land proposed by Jesus College in the Green Belt on the southern periphery of Cambridge and a site on the edge of Melbourn.

The paper, published today by CPRE, demonstrates that planning inspectors overturned the decisions of local councils in 72 per cent of cases where there was no defined 5 year land supply as required by the National Planning Policy Framework. Councils which do not meet their targets face the punishment of finding an extra 20 per cent of land as a buffer to ensure ‘choice and competition’.

Cambridgeshire CPRE is not surprised at these findings. Chairman, Michael Monk, said, “We warned the Government three years ago that this would be the outcome of their planning reforms.

“This paper demonstrates the hollow promise of Prime Minister David Cameron who has said that he understands that people in rural areas do not want housing estates ‘plonked on the edge of their village’.

“That is exactly what is happening here. We only have to look at the Inspector's decision at Bannold Road in Waterbeach. There he has allowed developers to push through plans for houses on land that South Cambridgeshire District Council wanted to designate as Green Belt to maintain separation between the village and the proposed new town on the Barracks. That happened precisely because of the 5 year land supply issue.”

Mr Monk went on to say that a key problem with the way the 5 year land supply was defined meant that brownfield sites, which are more sustainable but take longer to prepare for development cannot be included. He said this leads to unsustainable greenfield sites being used as a “quick fix” solution.

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