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- as rural campaigners call for even more control

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has demanded MPs sign a new Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for greater protection of the green belt.

David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, has lodged the motion, which urges a change of ODPM policy to a 'brownfield first - greenfield last'' approach.

The CPRE persuaded Drew to submit the EDM following their warnings that the government's current planning policies on housing would give market forces a much stronger role in the protected areas.

Kate Gordon, CPRE planning officer said: `In the last four years we've seen major progress in regeneration our towns and cities.

'Proposed new policies risk undermining all that. Unless they are changed, they will damage the prospects for urban renewal and lead to increased greenfield sprawl, yet do little to tackle the need for more affordable housing.

'It makes no sense to develop in the countryside and at the same time fail to tackle problems of urban decline and decay.

'We need to make much better use of the thousands of empty homes and swathes of derelict land and underused buildings that exist within our towns and cities,' she added.

by Ed Dorrell

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