A councillor has warned that Government proposals for changes to the planning process will offer no protection for the green belt.
Cllr Steve Norman, leader of the Labour opposition group, made his comments after the publication of a white paper on the issue.
The Government proposals would see a zoning system introduced to outline where developments can and can’t take place.
But Cllr Norman said the document offered little to reassure residents over the future of green spaces.
“The white paper offers no new protection for our Green Belt.
“The changes have only meant councils having to use criteria for reassessing green belt, which in turn has meant the land off Coulter Lane in Burntwood being taken out of the green belt in Lichfield District Council’s latest proposals.
“Strangely, the Government is saying that planning law has become over complicated yet in 2012 the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, was bragging he had reduced the guidance from over 1,300 pages to fewer than 100 so who is to blame?”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council
The white paper has also called for changes to housing allocation calculations, with a view to getting more homes built.
But Cllr Norman said the blame should not be laid at the door of local authorities.
“The Government has argued councils are to blame for the lack of housebuilding, yet councils, like Lichfield District Council, approve nine in ten planning applications and last year worked with developers to grant permission to over 350,000 homes – an 11-year high.
“The Government also complains that only 50% of councils have a Local Plan in place – which they are statutory obliged to do. Lichfield District Council is one of those that has.
“We councillors are not holding back housebuilding as the Government claims.
” The Local Government Association has called for greater attention to be given to the delays in the delivery of sites that have been granted planning permission and for councils to have greater powers to act where housebuilding has stalled.
“Developers currently have 423,000 homes with permission that they are still to build.”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council