In Wycombe, we all care passionately about the development of our town and the maintenance of the local green belt. Many constituents have sent emails raising concerns about Wycombe District Council’s local plan and the future of our protected green spaces.
On Monday 10th October, I raised the issue about the preservation of green-belt land during the debate about the Neighbourhood Planning Bill:
Mr Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Before my right hon. Friend moves on, may I ask whether he will use this Bill to clarify an issue that is much discussed in Wycombe: the status of green-belt land? Is it sacrosanct, or should local authorities review it with a view to getting their local plans through the inspector, who I am told will not pass local plans unless the green belt has been reviewed?
The Secretary of State for Local Government (Sajid Javid): The Bill does not look at green-belt issues, and it does not change in any way the very important protections for the green belt. As my hon. Friend will know, green-belt development can be looked at only in the most exceptional circumstances, and the Bill will not change that.
It is the responsibility of Wycombe Council to decide and lead the debate on the future development of the district but I am pleased that the Secretary of State gave me his assurance that the Bill will not alter the assumption that green-belt development will be looked at only in the most exceptional circumstances.