Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson challenges Planning Minis

Bill Esterson

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson today directly challenged the Tory-Lib Dem government in Parliament today over its changes to the planning rules which put the green belt at risk.

Bill raised concerns which are shared by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England that the changes being ushered in by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government threaten the country's green belt and green space.

Changes to the planning rules see a 'default yes' for applications - even on the green belt.

Speaking to Planning Minister Greg Clark, Bill said: "People across Sefton Central are worried about the changes to planning rules. The biggest single issue raised by my constituents is the protection of the green belt. Is he aware of the Council for the Protection of Rural England's legal opinion that the new planning framework will threaten the green belt?"

Bill has been a vocal opponent of the new planning rules which he says could lead to the destruction of much of the green belt in Sefton and the rest of the country.

Speaking after the Parliamentary debate, Bill said: "I have been saying for many months that the green belt around Aintree, Maghull, Lydiate, Crosby, Hightown and Formby is all at risk because of the weakness in the government's new planning rules.

"We have some of the best farm land in the country. There is concern about developers who own some of this land.

"The government has ended rules which put former industrial land first. That means developers have a green light to develop in the countryside. I hope the government changes its mind and listens to people in Sefton who fear that developers will be able to do as they please.

"We should be building new homes in our towns and renovating the many empty homes in Sefton not concreting over the green belt."

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