NPPF consultation 'a stealthy and sly attack on green belt'

A claim that the government's consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) amounts to 'a stealthy and sly attack on green belt' features in today's newspaper round-up.

A leader in the Telegraph says that the consultation, published on Monday, is an attempt "to water down planning rules to allow thousands of homes to be built on green belt land." The newspaper adds: "There may well be a case for sensible reform of the green belt rules, which do, after all, date back to the Thirties. But such reforms should only be implemented after an open and respectful conversation with all those concerned – especially those who live in the areas affected. Instead, the government appears more inclined to proceed by stealth, hoping either to bypass or ignore the legitimate concerns of residents. That will not do."

Writing in the Telegraph, the former foreign secretary William Hague calls for the government to "get on and build a third runway at Heathrow". "This has gone on for half a century and it is not in the interests of most British people to keep delaying it", he says.

But a leader in the Times (subscription required) calls on the government to back the expansion of Gatwick airport. The newspaper says: "Gatwick can build a second runway without destroying hundreds of homes or blighting tens of thousands with noise. Building could start in 2019 and finish by 2025, when the southeast is expected to run out of new landing slots. There are no ifs or buts about it. Gatwick is the answer not just to Mr Cameron’s looming political nightmare but to Britain’s airport crunch as well".

An opinion column in the Independent says that the awarding of the Turner Prize to a project to regenerate derelict homes in the Granby area of Liverpool "is a seal of approval for an area that was – variously – condemned, written off, ignored and then packaged up by national and local government to be sold off to developers."

The Guardian reports that plans for "Scotland’s first purpose-built tennis centre, promoted by Judy Murray, have been rejected by councillors." The newspaper says that the centre at Park of Keir, "between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, included golf facilities and new homes, and attracted backers including Sir Alex Ferguson and Colin Montgomerie. Campaigners against the development said the site was on green belt land and council planning officers recommended it be refused."

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