Soubry: ‘Save out greenbelt’

NEAABE100723c2, New Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry in her new constituency office at Barton house, Chillwell.
NEAABE100723c2, New Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry in her new constituency office at Barton house, Chillwell.

BROXTOWE MP Anna Soubry has taken her battle to save the borough’s greenbelt from the threat of 6,000 houses to Westminster.

In a debate on the issue, which she set up in the House of Commons on Monday, she blasted Broxtowe Borough Council for rushing through plans to build about 4,000 homes in the greenbelt – in areas including Watnall, Kimberley, Greasley and Moorgreen.

She also accused the authority of not having consulted residents properly, leaving them to think the plans were a ‘done deal’.

“In this day and age, authorities cannot just impose homes and new housing on people in an authoritarian way,” she said.

“They have to consult people and work with them. I went to a number of public meetings in my constituency, and people’s overwhelming cry was that the proposals were a done deal, and they felt cheated of any form of consultation.

“Real anger was expressed in those meetings, and rightly so.”

But leader of the council Cllr Milan Radulovic said that there were three consultations on the issue, including a letter sent out to every Broxtowe resident in 2009.

The figure of about 6,000 homes was originally put forward by the previous Labour Government as part of its Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS).

Ms Soubry argued that the council should wait for the new Localism Bill to be passed by the Government on April 1 next year, which would in effect scrap the RSS. Once it is made law, she said, it will be up to local authorities to decide on their own housing needs.

“For some reason, however, my local authority, along with other local authorities, has decided to accept the figures, even though it can break free of them,” she said.

“It is not waiting for the great powers the Localism Bill will give local communities or for the planning policy framework to come fully into force.”

Cllr Radulovic said: “Everyone accepts that this area needs to provide good quality and affordable houses.

“We need to build houses to get out of recession and provide jobs in the construction industry.

“The problem is nobody wants it on their greenfield site next to their home.

“People should remember they are living in houses built on what was somebody else’s green field.”