Local MP Sir Michael Fallon may well say he wants to stop housing being built on Green Belt areas of Swanley and Sevenoaks. The trouble is that the policy to build 1 million new homes across the country by 2020 was set by his own Conservative government. And councils that fail to set their own targets on how to achieve this will have developments imposed from above. Indeed, some have already been named and shamed.
Simply put, there is a set “housing delivery test” which ranks how many homes are being delivered by each council. Those that fall short and fail to meet local housing targets will see the Tory government imposing “new settlements” on them. This can include larger garden towns, similar to the one in Swanley being supported by Conservative-run Sevenoaks District Council in Sevenoaks.
These changes are the first major reforms to the new National Planning Policy Framework which was introduced in 2012. This abuse of Green Belt is being vehemently fought by the Campaign for Rural England and the National Trust, arguing that any new homes should first be built on brownfield sites, and not on our green fields, farms, and woodlands, which would permanently destroy large parts of our precious countryside.
Please rest assured. Your local Lib Dems will also vigorously oppose any encroachments by housing of our Green Belt land on the Archer Way and Birchwood sites in Swanley, and Knole Park and other open spaces and woodlands across Sevenoaks.