As you may be aware in the current Unitary Development Plan (UDP) the Planning Inspector (an independent body) deemed some sites adjoining the green belt as Protected Area of Search (PAS) sites for future identified housing needs. At a recent Council meeting a debate was held in which concerns were raised about recent activities of developers and landowners to inundate the Council with applications to build on the PAS sites. This is particularly worrying when there are a large number of unbuilt brownfield sites and it has always been, and will remain my priority to use these brownfield sites first. There is also the problem of developers who are “land banking” i.e. buying up sizeable chunks of land which may be earmarked for planning in the future such as PAS sites mentioned above and current areas of land they have bought and have permission for but are not actually building on. My priority would be to make them use up the land they do have permission for first before taking a punt on future housing needs in particular localities.

The debate concluded by calling on the Council to ask for the intervention of the Secretary of State to restrict the developers’ ability to exploit the situation.