The Department responds to an article in the Telegraph raising concerns that the presumption in favour of sustainable development will threaten playing fields.
Alex Welsh should be reassured that strong planning protections will safeguard London’s playing fields (‘We need to safeguard London’s playing fields or suffer the consequences’, 6 October 2011).
Communities will have new powers to protect green spaces special to them thanks to a new Local Green Spaces designation which can be used to protect playing fields, allotments, community gardens and other recreational spaces. And we are increasing planning protections for valued community facilities to save them from unnecessary loss.
The Government is also maintaining protection for the Green Belt, and the Mayor and London Boroughs will continue to be able to safeguard Metropolitan Open Land.
The planning reforms ensure communities are central to deciding the areas they wish to see developed and those to be protected, through their Local Plan. It is these plans that will drive planning decisions.
We desperately need to bring about new homes and jobs but this will not be at the expense of our green spaces. Making sure people can go on enjoying their local amenities is at the heart of the changes.