Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, is calling on the Government for appropriate investment in infrastructure and recognition of the importance of local green space to support future growth – in his response to a consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places.
Councillor Perry, in submitting Hampshire County Council’s response to the Government, highlighted the importance of both timely and properly funded new infrastructure, and recognition and protection of locally significant green spaces, where appropriate through additional Greenbelt designations, to support the Government’s plans for increased housing development.
Commenting, he said: “Proper investment in strategic infrastructure is essential to help Hampshire, and its neighbours, reach their full economic potential and to enable us to make the most of the advantages we have here. Hampshire County Council is committed to economic growth and prosperity for the benefit of all residents. We want ensure we also protect the integrity and quality of life of our communities through protecting our natural environment which in itself is an important economic asset, and helps maintain the individual character of our towns and villages.
“That’s why I am calling on the Government to enable us locally to designate additional Greenbelt in Hampshire, to protect the vitally important strategic gaps between settlements.
“It is, therefore, important that councils who are closest to the communities they serve, are given the tools they need to make sure infrastructure keeps pace with housing growth. In this way, we can mitigate the impact of development and support our communities. In recent years, we have seen funding from developers reduced with the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy, at the same time as Government funding has decreased. To secure funding for infrastructure, we must take part in a competitive bid process awarded through Local Enterprise Partnerships or Government agencies, leading to uncertainty on the impact of planned growth.
“I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Government to go back to a system that ensures sufficient funding can be secured from new developments. In this way, we can do what we need to do to support our communities and promote economic prosperity – by making sure the right infrastructure is in the right place and the right time.”