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Lib Dems say protect Surrey’s Green Belt

March 12, 2013 2:20 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats are calling on Surrey County Council to protect the County's Green Belt. In a motion to the County Council next Tuesday, 19 March, Liberal Democrat Councillor Ian Beardsmore will call on the Council to do everything in its power to protect Green Belt land and to ensure that any Green Belt development in the County is in line with the needs and wishes of Surrey residents.

Ian Beardsmore will say: "Surrey County Council has a proud history as the creator of the Green Belt. The County's Countryside Estate founded by the Surrey County Council Act of 1931 was the basis of the London County Council's Green Belt Act of 1938.

"It is no accident that residents of Surrey enjoy some of the greenest open spaces in the country, the foresight of the County Council back in 1931 has ensured the protection of our open spaces for past, present and future generations.

"It is essential that Surrey County Council lays down a marker now to continue with that legacy. We do not want to see any of our Green belt swallowed up by retail parks, industrial developments or expansion of our motorways.

"Liberal Democrats are very concerned that many of those who wish to build on the Green Belt in Surrey do not wish to build the homes that those in housing need living in Surrey need. They want to build homes which when sold will make a fortune for property developers, who donated £3.3 million to the Conservative Party from 2008 to 2011.

"Developers are being awarded access to senior Tories through the Conservative Property Forum, a donor group which sets up meetings to discuss planning and property issues. Nobody can be deluded into thinking they have the best interests of Surrey's residents at heart.

"We cannot let Surrey's Green Belt be sold off to the highest bidder, we must protect it for future generations.

"Of course there must be some give and take when we come to the issue of affordable housing of which there is an extreme shortage in some parts of Surrey, and we must encourage Surrey's boroughs and districts to maximise the use of non Green Belt land for future developments. At the worst we should ensure that any Green Belt land lost to essential housing in Surrey is replaced by Green Belt land elsewhere in the County.

"Above all we must ensure that any Green Belt development in the County is in line with the needs and wishes of Surrey residents.

"Once a decision is taken to rip up a section of Green Belt land it is never reversed, a chunk of Surrey's Green Belt is given up for ever to concrete and tarmac. We ignore this at our peril."