09:00AM, Friday 11 June 2021
MP Joy Morrissey has called for more protection of green spaces in reaction to the Government’s radical reforms to the planning system.
The Planning Reform Bill, which was included in the Queen’s Speech last month, states that land should be categorised into three different types – Growth, Renewal and Protected.
There would be growth areas suitable for ‘substantial’ development, renewal areas suitable for development, as well as areas that are protected.
Discussing the reforms, Mrs Morrissey explained that a group of her and other MPs are opposed to the plans and have been campaigning for greater protection for green spaces.
Maidenhead MP Theresa May has also spoken out against the reforms.
Mrs Morrissey, whose consituency includes Burnham and Marlow, told the Advertiser: “We are all very loyal. I think this is the only issue we're going to vote against the government on.”
She added that she and her colleagues have been campaigning for a special policy which gives dispensation for counties which touch the M25.
Mrs Morrissey said that while green spaces in areas of London have special protection and ‘no one can build on them’, a lot of green spaces are not protected in her Beaconsfield constituency.
She added: “My feeling is that agricultural greenbelt land should be given protected status, so that you can not develop on that land.
“For unspoiled, beautiful land that is already classed as farmland, I would like a protected status given to that.
“I think places like Buckinghamshire need special protection.”
The Beaconsfield MP added areas such as Chesham, Amersham and Wycombe also have ‘a lot of’ land classified as land of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ which cannot be built on, but her constituency has less of that.
“I think a lot of my land is going to be subject to predatory development, because it doesn't have that added layer of protection,” she said.
“I love the constituency and I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the country but I don't want it destroyed by a bunch of greedy developers.”
Mrs Morrissey added she is also asking for the housing quota numbers to be ‘thrown out’, stating the numbers used were not up-to-date.
Last month, Theresa May spoke out about proposals to ‘streamline the opportunity for consultation at the planning application stage’, saying it would stop residents having a say on housing developments.
Mrs Morrissey shared concerns over this, saying residents ‘give vital asset to a development’.
She added: “I'm just not going to stop campaigning on this. If they want to ignore me and all the other MPs, that's their prerogative.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “Local democracy and communities are at the heart of the planning process, with decisions remaining with councils and communities having real influence over development location and design.
“The Planning Reform Bill will simplify and modernise the system. It will establish a clear set of rules – from where communities want homes to be built, to the high design and environmental standards that must be met.
“This includes local plans that they are based around clear categories of land, providing more certainty to communities over the type, scale and design of development that will be permitted.”
Police were called to the River Thames between Cookham and Bourne End yesterday at about 3pm, to reports that a teenage boy had entered the water but hadn’t been seen to leave.