CHESHIRE East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils are to receive £50,000 each to crack down on illegal development in the Green Belt.

News of the funding follows an announcement by Housing Minister Esther McVey, the MP for Tatton, of £2 million for the crackdown across the country.

Speaking at the annual RESI Convention in Newport, Ms McVey announced that 37 councils would be receiving a total of up to £50,000 each.

Local authorities will be able to use the money to hire more enforcement officers, introduce the latest technology and help meet the legal costs of bringing rogue developers to task for their illegal developments.

Ms McVey said: “Once the Green Belt is built on it’s often gone for good, that’s why we are determined to protect it. The public in the north west have told us loud and clear they want it kept for future generations to enjoy.

“The funding announced will help councils like Cheshire West and Chester clamp down on rogue developers, giving the areas with the highest levels of Green Belt the funds needed to punish those who build illegally.”

Reforms to the national planning rulebook last year maintained the strong protections on the Green Belt, which protect an area’s character and prevent urban sprawl.

Only in exceptional circumstances can land in the Green Belt be built on.

Alongside the cash boost for councils, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is teaming up with the Royal Town Planning Institute to overhaul the national enforcement handbook.

The updated handbook will provide the latest best practice and expertise on shutting down illegal building and preventing it from happening, whilst ensuring developers obtain full planning permission before a shovel hits the ground.