I COMPLETELY agree with the letter from Marion Pope that our precious greenbelt must be protected.

However, it seems that she has misinterpreted some of the recent reporting around the consultation on the greenbelt as part of our work on the Local Plan.

We are legally obliged to consult with the public on sites ‘promoted’ to us in the greenbelt, as part of the formal local plan process.

When doing so, we have two choices – we can consult on a limited number of ‘preferred’ options, or just consult on all of them.

I know of no local councillor who wants to see ANYTHING built on our green belt, but in order to make sure that happens we have to make sure that the process around arguing why it should be protected is based on sound evidence that cannot be challenged. Hence the decision to consult on all of the promoted sites – not because we want any of them to be built, but rather to ensure that we cannot be challenged that the process hasn’t been followed comprehensively.

I’m extremely pleased with the cross party work that has been going on in this area. Furthermore, I feel very confident that through a combination of this continuing work, alongside our excellent planning team and some crucial discussions around sharing our housing target with some of our neighbouring councils, we can arrive at a conclusion whereby our green belt is very much protected.


Deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, economy and strategic planning,

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council