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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian Hosts Parliamentary Debate on York’s Greenbelt

July 3, 2013

Julian has this morning hosted a parliamentary debate on the future of York’s Greenbelt.

Julian’s debate, which took place in Westminster Hall at 11am this morning, centred on the importance of Greenbelts in protecting historic cities and their rural settings from urban and suburban sprawl. Julian also spoke at length about the City of York Council’s controversial draft Local Plan and his concerns over the proposed developments within the Plan, saying that they would “threaten the very fibre of York’s Greenbelt”.

In his speech, Julian said:

“Greenbelts are absolutely necessary in protecting the rural countryside for which this Country is renowned. But also they protect the character and setting of our Cities and prevent suburban sprawl. Without them, I have little doubt that some of the most culturally and economically important cities in the Country would be changed out of all recognition.

“The NPPF is very clear on the need for sustainable development, while in York a draft Local Plan has been put forward which I believe is profoundly unsustainable. York is a small historic city in which the local infrastructure is already under strain. To add tens of thousands of homes could mean tens of thousands more cars on our already over-congested roads. In my mind, the Council absolutely must reduce their figures to a more sustainable and manageable level.

“York’s Greenbelt is very clearly under threat and based on the packed out series of public meetings I have hosted around my constituency on the draft Local Plan and the hundreds of letters, emails and telephone calls I received from concerned residents on this issue, I believe the vast majority of my constituents support me in this view. I remain deeply concerned that the City of York Council are using the localism aspect of the NPPF to enable them to ignore the rest of the document.”

In his response, the Planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, said that the NPPF was already clear that “development must be sustainable”. He went further to say there would be “simply no point for any local authority to put forward a Local Plan which was unsustainable”. He added that the NPPF was already very strong on the need for sustainable development and the protection of Greenbelts and he said Mr Sturdy had and should continue to make these arguments as part of the consultation process on the draft Local Plan.

To watch the coverage of the debate, press play below and skip to 11.00: