I have also done what I can to protect the Green Belt which is now under great pressure because of population growth. Over the years I have given evidence at planning inquiries looking into proposed Green Belt development in support of local groups opposing development. This included the Beaconsfield Motorway Service Area, land in Farnham Common for a roadside development and moves to develop land in Little Marlow.
The recent local plans prepared by the District Councils, who have responsibility for this, envisage taking land out of the Green Belt for housing in response to government targets which are themselves a response to population growth. The population growth is undoubted although its exact impact locally is difficult to predict exactly. I know from numerous representations made to me that there is a shortage of housing for those needing rented accommodation.
I will continue to do all I can to try to moderate the impact on road transport and services of all the proposed changes and to try to minimise the land take involved by making sure the land that is made available is used efficiently and that respect to wildlife and woodland in particular is put first.
- My first priority is securing the construction of the Iver Relief Road. We have already made progress in securing support for this from the County Council and central government.
- I support the efforts of the Beaconsfield Society to question the size of the land take and the number of houses and business premises envisaged and the traffic and infrastructure implications of the East of Beaconsfield development in the examination of the Local Plan that is now taking place. The Society and local community groups have raised important issues relating to this project that need to be given a fair hearing, including the formula for calculating need for our area.
- I support the efforts of Keep Bourne End Green to question whether the Wycombe District Council has correctly applied the Government formula for calculating population growth and consequent overall need to remove land in the District from the Green Belt in particular in respect of Hollands Farm.
- I will continue to resist any suggestion of Slough Borough Council seeking to take Green Belt land in South Bucks in order to expand.
- It is also important that people are properly housed and I will continue to do what I can to ensure that enough social housing is being constructed in all new builds and that the aesthetic quality of new buildings is high and fits into our natural environment. I am opposed to any proposals that will reduce the availability of private rented accommodation which remains essential to meet housing need.
- I support widespread environmental improvements to make the Colne Valley Linear Park a real local resource and to see the progressive removal of unsuitable and polluting activities from the area. Where they are unlawful I will continue as before to lobby the relevant regulatory authority to take action.
- I continue to be of the view that HS2 does not deliver value for money. The cost of the project has now risen from an estimated £56 billion to £88billion and some suggest it could be as high as £103 billion. It would be better to use this money on other schemes that deliver better value for the investment.