Green belt development schemes double in a year
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Development, Housing
Tories: Green belt review will lead to 'unsustainable urban sprawl'
Over 150,000 houses are currently scheduled for development on green belt land, new figures from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) show.
Along with plans for over 1,000 hectares of mines, offices and warehouses, the construction pipeline represents an 84% increase in green belt development over the last year.
The CPRE is now raising concerns that the government's pledge to prevent development on the green belt other than in "exceptional circumstances" is not being implemented effectively.
The campaign group's research found that 150,464 houses are planned for green belt sites across the country. Last August, over 81,000 dwellings were planned, equivalent to an area the size of Slough.
But the CPRE claims the government has taken some steps to protect the green belt. The coalition issued a written ministerial statement in July stating that the single issue of housing demand does not in itself justify building on the green belt.
The CPRE welcomed the statement but is now calling on ministers to take further action, including:
• making a clear statement that suitable brownfield sites in urban areas should be used before greenfield land in the green belt for new development;
• introducing measures to help local authorities to work together to safeguard the green belt and direct development to areas in need of regeneration;
• providing clear guidance on the requirement for supplying five years’ worth of sites for new housing in local plans, to reduce the scope for developers to promote green belt or greenfield land when better brownfield sites are available.
Paul Miner, senior planning campaigner for CPRE, said: "Ministers saying that the green belt is not being given the level of protection they expected, is a welcome recognition of the problem. But the extent to which the threat is growing – nearly doubling in a year – is deeply worrying.
"It should not be necessary to build on green belt land when there is enough brownfield land available for a million and a half new homes.
"Green belts prevent urban sprawl and are the green lungs of many of our largest or most historic towns and cities. Ministers now need to go further. Hard decisions are needed to help ensure both urban regeneration and protection of the green belt."
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