Plans for greenbelt spark anger

Large sections of greenbelt may be lost in Nottinghamshire as part of a review of planning policies, it has emerged.

An independent panel appointed by the government has been looking at the scale of future development.

Under the plans, large areas could lose their protected status with only existing greenbelt land between Nottingham and Derby being preserved.

The government wants to build new homes to tackle a housing crisis, but the plans have provoked anger locally.

On Wednesday, the independent panel revealed the plan to reduce the greenbelt in the region with areas to the north, south and east of Nottingham being lost.

Plans opposed

Gotham in south Nottinghamshire has been earmarked for 5,000 homes to be built on greenbelt land.

John Anderson of Gotham Parish Council said: "The greenbelt has been a very important part of our planning process for years and preserved a lot of green countryside... And it's very disappointing that this relaxation may mean that a lot of people go under concrete and tarmac."

Both the East Midlands Development Agency and the Regional Assembly agree tens of thousands of homes must be constructed to tackle the shortage of affordable housing in the region.

Jenny Allen of the National Housing Federation said: "We believe that there is a significant housing crisis within the region and that you may need to tackle this in part on the greenbelt.

"But we don't believe that this needs to take place at the expense of the countryside."

Around 200 people have already protested about plans to build 1,200 homes at Sharp Hill Woods, south of Nottingham.

The independent panel has stressed that no final decision has been made about the changes to greenbelt land.

The Secretary of State is expected to publish a response to the proposals in Spring of next year., 29.11.2007

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