Minister’s blow to Field Farm hopes

Field Farm, between Stapleford and Trowell
Field Farm, between Stapleford and Trowell

A Government minister has said that ‘uninteresting fields’ and even greenbelt could be built on under Government plans — dealing a blow to campaigners fighting local housing plans.

Planning Minister Nick Boles’ comments were made in a letter to fellow Tory MP for Broxtowe Anna Soubry, who has been battling against plans to build 450 homes on greenbelt site Field Farm in Stapleford.

The comments have hit the Stapleford and Trowell Rural Action Group (STRAG), also fighting the Field Farm plans by Westerman Homes, which were approved by Broxtowe Borough Council.

STRAG chairman Zoe Cockcroft said: “‘Low quality, environmentally uninteresting fields’ certainly isn’t a qualification which applies to Field Farm. The site comprises good quality agricultural land as well as woodland connecting Nottingham city with the open countryside, forming a unique ecological corridor.”

Ms Soubry wrote to Communities Secretary Eric Pickls, who would have to give the final say on the Field Farm application, saying: “This is an intolerable situation which has undermined the assurances on greenbelt given by yourself and the Prime Minister.”

In reply Mr Boles said: “Given a two million increase in our population over the last ten years and historic under-provision of housing we have to be realistic that not all the housing that we as a country need can be on brownfield land.

“In some places this may mean building on low quality, environmentally uninteresting fields.”

“In exceptional circumstances, it may involve a greenbelt review.”