Don’t listen to scare stories about the Green Belt, says Miliband during visit to Kingswood constituency

Ed Miliband at the National Composites Centre in Emersons Green

Ed Miliband at the National Composites Centre in Emersons Green

During his visit to the Kingswood constituency, Labour leader Ed Miliband shrugged off  “scare stories” about the Green Belt not being safe in his hands.

There was huge opposition to the last Labour Government’s South West Regional Spatial Strategy which would have seen thousands of new homes built on Green Belt land to the east of Kingswood, including Warmley, Siston and Mangotsfield.

The policy was regarded as one of the key reasons that Labour’s Roger Berry was ousted at the 2010 General Election from the Kingswood seat that he had held for 18 years.

The controversial strategy was abolished when there was a change of Government and new planning laws have since strengthened Green Belt preservation.

Speaking to The Week In during his high-profile visit to the National Composites Centre at Emersons Green yesterday, Mr Miliband would not be drawn on whether Labour’s strategy at the time of the last election had been a mistake.

But he said opponents may be “trying to spread scare stories” about what Labour would do to the Green Belt if elected on 7th May.  He said his party would not change the current planning guidance, apart from tell developers that brownfield sites – land which has previously been used for commerce or industry – must be built on first.

Labour’s manifesto says it will provide the homes Britain needs by getting 200,000 built a year by 2020.