The National Trust is alleged to have willingly misrepresented the Coalition Government's proposed law changes via its campaign against policy reforms. Greg Clark, the planning minister, said the claims made by the charity that areas of the Green Belt will be threatened due to the amendments are ridiculous. He also said that people are guilty of unruly greed for trying to 'preserve in aspic' their towns.
The statement comes after the National Trust said it had serious concerns about the outline published by the National Planning Policy Framework last month. Director-General Dame Fiona Reynolds says the proposed modifications may lead to damaging and unchecked development in the undesignated countryside on a level not seen since the '30s. The reforms, she argued, focus too much on stimulating economic growth, which will mean many more developments will be approved.
Clark says these worries are unfounded and that the position of the government has been misled by the charity. The principal point of the campaign appears to be the Green Belt being lost. There isn't anything in the policy that would result in a significant loss of the area. The National Trust showed an aerial photo of Los Angeles on its website, suggesting the ridiculous idea that this would be the future of Britain. The Green Belt, national parks and other specially scientific areas of interest will continue to be protected.
The MP went on to say that houses are needed to settle the homebuilding problem and help young people. The only way they will be developed on Green Belt land is under a new community right to build programme, which would allow small developments of up to 12 homes if it's supported by a majority of locals. Britain experienced the lowest level of homebuilding last year since World War II. This has meant that the issue is worsening and will cause more misery for more residents and workers the longer it isn't addressed. People are interested in the future, and not caring shows a level of unruly greed, which isn't very common.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman backed Clark. He said the Green Belt won't be threatened by the changes. They have made their commitment clear, while it's in the Coalition Agreement. Their proposed abolition of unpopular regional strategies will stop the pressure to remove the 30 areas of the Green Belt across England.
A spokesman for the National Trust slammed Clark and his colleagues for thinking that greenbelts and other designated countryside areas are all people care about. He claims they haven't even mentioned them in their campaign, which voices their concern that the reforms will threaten everyday places in and around villages, towns and cities. To say the charity has an unruly view on housing is odd as well, as they have developed numerous homes themselves and have existing building permission for hundreds more on their own land. They believe developments have to meet the needs of the people, environment and economy.