Francis Maude joins government attack on the National Trust

Minister for the Cabinet Office tells newspaper the trust's opposition to planning reforms is 'bollocks, frankly'

Francis Maude
Francis Maude

Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, has described the National Trust’s view of government planning reforms as "bollocks".

Maude made the comments to The Independent on Sunday newspaper after being asked whether he had sympathy with the National Trust position on planning reform.

He said: "No. I mean, our position is right. I think this idea, that creating a presumption in favour of sustainable development is somehow a massive erosion of the ability to conserve, is bollocks, frankly."

A spokeswoman for the National Trust said the charity intended to rise above the comments.

"We’re going to carry on working with the Communities and Local Government department on this," she said. "We’ll carry on focusing on the bigger picture and just rise above it, really."

Several other government ministers have also criticised the National Trust’s view on the planning reform process, including the planning minister Greg Clark, who said the National Trust was "risible" and guilty of "nihilistic selfishness".

But last month David Cameron, the Prime Minister, wrote to the charity saying that he was a "big supporter" of the National Trust, offering a meeting and promising that planning reform would include "appropriate protections for our magnificent countryside".

Read our interview with National Trust director-general Fiona Reynolds

See our analysis on charity campaigning

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