Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Building on the Green Belt in Newcastle and Northumberland

Monday saw questions to the Dept of Communities and Local Government Minister for Housing and Green Belt, and I got the chance to raise local housing and our plans to protect the green belt:

Photo of Guy Opperman
Guy Opperman (Hexham, Conservative)
What steps he is taking to promote the refurbishment of empty and vacant homes in Northumberland.
Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)
I have allocated £150 million to bring empty homes back into use, and £160,000 has already been committed to a project in Northumberland, subject to contract. In addition, of course, Northumberland has received a reward of £630,000 through the new homes bonus for bringing 256 long-term empty homes back into use.
Guy Opperman (Hexham, Conservative)
I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that Northumberland county council, in drawing up its local development framework, should promote and maintain brownfield sites for development before any greenfield sites?
Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary)
I certainly agree with my hon. Friend, and I draw his and the council’s attention to the publication, two weeks ago, of the national planning policy framework, which sets out the importance of making sure that all such plans are founded on the principles of sustainable development. Of course, the Government want to encourage every local authority to focus on land of the least environmental quality, and that, of course, includes brownfield sites.

Good news for green belt protection and our plans to bring empty homes back into use