Land For Sale News : Green Belt gamblers


I'm going to war on Green Belt gamblers


MP calls for end to speculators preying on our countryside

   By Paul Robinson

   A YORKSHIRE MP is spearheading calls for a crackdown on big-money speculators he says threaten the country's Green Belts.

   Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) says the law should be changed to combat the controversial property speculation practice known as land banking.

   Companies are buying up large patches of protected land, then reselling plots to private investors. They often splash out thousands of pounds in the hope that planning controls on the land will eventually be relaxed, paving the way for lucrative housing or other developments.

   Mr Mulholland has been spurred into action by the buying and selling of Cookridge Pastures in north Leeds, first revealed by the YEP in August.

   He has already written to housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper (Lab, Pontefract and Castleford) to express concern at the growth of land banking - and is now ready to raise the issue in Parliament.

   Mr Mulholland said land banking was outrageous and added: I want a change in the law, and I'm confident it will win cross party support. The Government needs to look at it if it is serious about preserving our green spaces.

   The MP feared the effect on the planning process. If local people are the ones doing the buying, then they could make their voices heard when applications go in - but do it for all the wrong reasons.

   Cookridge Pastures was divided into about 150 plots by a firm called the English Land Partnership (ELP).

   Those parcels were advertised as far afield as China and Malaysia, and sold for between £ 12,000 and £ 16,000.


   Saving the open spaces

   There are 14 Green Belts in England

   They were initially established in 1938 in a bid to tackle urban sprawl

   Two-thirds of the Leeds metropolitan district is classed as Green Belt

   Planning guidelines say inappropriate developments there should only be allowed in very special circumstances;

   Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims 2,400 acres disappear every year

   Between 1997 and 2004, CPRE says 162 developments got planning approval


   Should investment speculation in the Green Belt be banned?

SOURCE: Yorkshire Evening Post

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