During a recent visit by David Cameron and Boris Johnson to Ansty Park they both emphasised the need to protect the Green Belt, and Conservative Party statements and their manifesto promise to do so.
The Prime Minister said: “I support making sure that Coventry can grow and expand and invest and see the benefit of the jobs like we are doing here today...... brownfield first, that’s the key.”
Mr Johnson said – ‘There are wonderful brownfield sites across this area. If you give permission to people to carve up the Green Belt, what you immediately do is destroy the economic value of those brownfield sites. That means that you don’t go ahead with the regeneration that you can achieve’.
The Conservative Manifesto says; ‘We will protect the Green Belt. We have safeguarded national Green Belt protection and increased protection of important green spaces‘
This question - will new Conservative councillors now follow party policy? - was put to Conservative candidates by The Community Group. The group represented the local villages at the public inquiry last year into the Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway. Their objections were upheld by the Secretary of State when the application was refused by Eric Pickles.
Despite the Government’s decision, Warwick District Council still proposes to remove the area of land around Coventry Airport from the Green Belt. The proposal to remove the Gateway site from Green Belt and rename it ‘sub-regional employment site’ were both late changes to the Local Plan. These changes were actually made while that public inquiry was ongoing and without public consultation.
If accepted, this would allow the developer to re-submit the same application and see it rubber stamped by Warwick District Council without the protection afforded by its Green Belt status.
The Courier/Weekly News have seen a letter The Community Group have sent to each Conservative candidate asking them to reaffirm their commitment to protecting the Green Belt.
Eric Pickles, David Cameron and Boris Johnson could not be clearer in their message. Warwick District Council should follow National Planning Policy and Guidance.
The Community Group want the Gateway site to be removed from the Local Plan, and the Green Belt protected.
The Community Group