Whilst it is important that we build more homes and tackle the housing crisis, this must be balanced against the need to protect our natural heritage. I do not believe that housing development should be done at the expense of green belt land when other alternatives exist.
I therefore welcome the recent decision by the independent Planning Inspector not to approve housing development at two sites in Staincross Common. This is an important green space in our borough and I believe that it should be protected for local residents to enjoy. Across Barnsley, there are many brownfield sites that could be developed before we lose any more green belt land.
At the General Election Labour committed to prioritising brownfield sites and protecting the green belt. This approach will mean that a future Labour Government can deliver ambitious levels of house building to fix our housing crisis, but not let that happen at the expense of important green spaces.
Local residents should always be at the heart of planning, and their views represented when councils make proposals for development.