Assembly Member urges government to rethink plans on village greens that could see Swansea Rec and other open spaces built over.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has hit out at plans by the Welsh Labour Government that will stop local people applying to register land as a village green once it has been identified for development. And he has accused the Natural Resources Minister of misleading AMs by claiming no such proposals exist.

Speaking in the Senedd this week, Mr. Black referred to the recent consultation on the Government's proposed Planning Bill which proposes to restrict people's rights to try and protect open spaces such as Swansea Rec from developers. He asked the Welsh government to think again on this proposal and was astonished when the Minister for Natural Resources and Food denied there were any proposals to amend the Commons Act in this way despite it being spelt out in Government documents.

"If this proposal becomes law then campaigners who are seeking to protect Swansea Rec near St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground from development would find themselves with nowhere to go," said Mr. Black. "It would affect many other communities around Wales as well. This is a developers' charter and I am astonished that a Welsh Government Minister appears to be in denial of what is proposed by his colleagues.

"I would urge the Welsh Government to abandon these proposals. If they go ahead then many open spaces that have been used for recreation by local residents for generations could come under threat, with no avenue available to them to fight back."

ENDs

Note for Editors: The proposals for restricting applications for village green status can be found on page 97, para 6.138 of the government's consultation document here:http://wales.gov.uk/docs/desh/consultation/140212positive-planning-proposals-to-reform-planning-en.pdf It seeks to 'Prohibit applications being made to register land as a town and village green where that land has entered theplanning system i.e. been identified for development in a development plan, has received planning permission or is the subject of an application for planning permission before the LPA'

The question to the Minister for Natural Resources and Food from Peter Black can be found at 13:40hrs here http://www.assemblywales.org/docs/rop_xml/140430_plenary_bilingual.xml#142066

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