Green spaces must stay in public ownership

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Recent announcements by our political leaders give rise to hopes that pressure to build on suburban greenfield sites will be lessened.

Ed Miliband favouring the building of new garden towns and villages would seem a sensible way forward.

Eric Pickles suggesting that small bungalows should be built for the elderly to downsize into, thus freeing up the larger houses they currently occupy, is a second idea.

Building such a stock of houses would be a far better investment than spending billions on HS2.

Measures like these would mean that greenfield sites such as those between Woodhouse and Beighton, already given protection in Sheffield’s Local Plan, should not have to be developed. It would probably mean in some instances that the Green Belt would have to be reviewed. However if the housing crisis is to be tackled in a fair and equitable way then this is a bullet that the Government has to bite.

I am however concerned by Sheffield Council’s decision that housing developments of less than 300 homes don’t have to provide open space is a retrograde step. I would ask if on any such sites that are owned by Sheffield City Council, only the land that is to be developed is sold. Areas that the planners identify that should not be developed (green links, buffers zones, hedgerows, heritage features etc.) should not be sold but be retained in public ownership.

Richard Pearson