‘Green belt is sacred’ – MP Sadiq Khan on Ilford visit

File photo dated 24/09/14 of Sadiq Khan, who has announced his bid to run as Labour's candidate for

File photo dated 24/09/14 of Sadiq Khan, who has announced his bid to run as Labour's candidate for mayor of London as party colleague Diane Abbott also threw her hat into the ring. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A London mayoral candidate has said building on the borough’s green belt would be “catastrophic”.

Labour MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan made the comments after visiting Valentines Park for Friday’s Eid in the Park event.

He said: “For me, the green belt is sacred – I have spoken to developers and there’s more than enough land in London to develop that isn’t green belt – it’s very easy to do but it takes political will.”

The comments come after Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal defended Oakfield Playing Fields, Forest Road, Barkingside, being earmarked for development, following comments from Conservative business secretary Sajid Javid on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mr Javid said there was “no need” to build on green belt land.

Mr Khan said: “You’re not going to get the right type of homes by building on green belt.

“If you allow building on green belt it raises its value and the properties that are built on it won’t be affordable.”

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He added: “Building on it would be catastrophic – once it’s gone it’s gone and you can’t get it back.”

Last week Cllr Athwal told the Recorder that the borough’s housing need would not be met with brownfield sites alone.

The council leader said that the borough had more than 7,000 households in housing need in March.

Speaking about Mr Javid’s comments he said: “He needs to look at the population growth of Redbridge – it has to be managed.”

Last week, a council spokesman said: “It’s important to note that there is a distinction between land in the green belt which still meets its purpose, and land that no longer meets its green belt purpose.

“An independent green belt review in 2010 found that the Oakfield site was no longer meeting it’s green belt purpose.”

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