The National Trust has paid £1m to purchase 470 acres of greenbelt fields that were under threat of development.

Divis and Black Mountain land, near Belfast, has been purchased by the National Trust using money from the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment and Ulster Garden Villages.

Sir William Proby, chairman of the National Trust, said on Monday that the National Trust would consider buying greenbelt land in order to prevent unwanted housing developments.

The National Trust is now being investigated by the Charity Commission, however, over claims that the Trust is abusing its charitable position by taking a stance in the greenbelt debate.

Phyllis Starkey, the Labour chairman of the Communities and Local Government Committee of the Commons, who oversees housing policy, said that Sir William should ‘do his homework before he sounds off.

‘?Nobody is talking about wholesale change to the green belt, but there is a debate about whether the existing green belt should be completely sacrosanct.’

The National Trust’s £1m purchase of 470 acres of greenbelt fields that were under threat was described by Sir William as a ‘marvellous acquisition’.

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