Comments : The Green Belt battle
In England, around 12% of the land is under a special category called Green Belt. This is designed to protect surrounding areas of historic towns and prevent house building widening until countryside is a thing of the past. It is the Government’s responsibility to protect Green Belt land and to promote the reuse of Brownfield land for urban regeneration. However, it seems that the Government is getting so desperate to lift the country out of the housing crisis, they are prepared to unlock the countries protected Green Belt land for development.
There are more than 35 proposed developments to be built on England’s precious Green Belt land which includes an estimated 81,000 homes as well as multiple building projects like industrial parks, theme parks and mines according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The Campaign to Protect Rural England claims that the Government’s planning inspectors have been pressuring local council planners to allow the development of protected land.
A Senior planning officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Paul Miner spoke to the Independent. ‘The green belt is the most popular planning policy in England and the envy of the world. It helps regenerate our cities and stops them sprawling into rural areas. As a result no one is ever too far from true, green English countryside.’ He continues to air his beliefs that politicians feel forced into making rash decisions without properly thinking them through because of the rising pressure to lift the country out of the economic crisis however, Mr Miner argues that, ‘destroying the countryside is not the path too lasting economic prosperity.’
The councils that have been involved in discussions regarding the development of their Green Belt land include Broxtowe Borough Council who is under pressure to give up land between Nottingham and Derby for 3,000 houses and an open cast mine to be managed by the UK Coal Authority. Other council’s that have had applications submitted include Cheshire West and Chester Council for 2,000 new homes to be built within its Green Belt land with consultations are expected to begin as soon as September. Cambridge City Council have had plans submitted for 12,350 houses to be erected on their Green Belt land as well as a proposal for 2,730 properties to be built on Reigate and Barnstead Borough Council and Woking Borough Council Green Belt land. Other, larger plans include the extension of Birmingham airport.
Pali wants to know what you think of the Green Belt battle. Do you believe the land should be utilised to help the economy or do you think it’s utterly devastating that such proposals can be put forward to develop on Green Belt land? What do you think will happen to England's Green Belt land?
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