Our green fields are ‘in peril’ - claim

AT least 300 greenfield sites in Calderdale face a much greater risk of being concreted over as a result of the Government’s new planning guidelines, according to environmental campaigners.

The affected areas are equivalent in size to about 625 football pitches, which The Friends of the Earth say are “In peril.”

The Government wants to simplify planning guidance and give a presumption in favour of development, where this accords with local plans.

“But the complete removal of any priority in favour of developing housing on brownfield sites before green fields will put more than 300 greenfield sites across Calderdale and around 450 hectares of land at risk,” said FoE coordinator Anthony Rae.

“These sites have been comprehensively surveyed recently so developers can just thumb through the catalogue.”

Labour politicians are opposed to the changes contained in the new National Planning Policy Framework.

The Friends of the Earth have urged Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker and Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat leader Janet Battye to join in their protests.

“The issue is almost unknown and undebated locally yet it will effectively strip greenfield sites across Calderdale of protection,” said Mr Rae.

The campaigners claim developers will no longer have to put houses on previously developed land.

Public consultation on the proposals, which continue to protect green belt land, runs until October 17.