PLANNING chiefs have reassured people there are no imminent plans to build on green belt land in South Worcestershire after a government minister said it was the only way to get young people on the housing ladder.

However, councils in the county have commissioned a review of the green belt - land protected from development - as part of the South Worcestershire Local Development Plan.

The review comes after treasury chief secretary Liz Truss called for a million homes to be built on green belt land around the country to provide homes for under-40s.

She said: “Doing more of what we have been doing for the past nine years is not going to win over modern Britain - we need to be bold.

“We should allow villages to expand by four or five houses a year without having to go through the planning system, so people can afford to live locally.”

Gary Williams, head of Planning and Infrastructure at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “There are no proposals to build on the Green Belt in South Worcestershire.

“The South Worcestershire Councils have commenced a review of the adopted South Worcestershire Local Development Plan which is timetabled to reach the Preferred Options stage later this year.

“The review will look at growth requirements up to 2041.

“As part of the review process, the councils have commissioned a review of the Green Belt which forms part of the evidence base for the Preferred Options document.

“The Green Belt review looks at whether the Green Belt in South Worcestershire still meets its established purposes.

“Should any releases of Green Belt land be considered, these would be presented to the three South Worcestershire Councils later this year and if any are approved these would in turn be subject to public consultation.”

Mark Goodge, mayor of Evesham, said: “We recognise as a town that new homes need to be built as we have a growing population in the area, but it’s important we situate developments on suitable sites and not just build here and there - we need to put a great deal of thought in to home building.”

Dr Peter King, spokesman for the Worcester branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “I’m surprised at the Conservatives as they said they’d protect green belt land.

“I think a low scale moving of green belt boundaries is unfortunately necessary but we need to be careful as we don’t want a mass scale development on newly released sites.

“Some local authorities are reviewing green belt boundaries as more homes are needed.”

However, Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “We need to reassess where the greenbelt starts and ends, as well as exploring ways to build on green sites within existing communities.

“This will help provide more new rural housing and employment and promote opportunities to reconnect people with nature.”

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