Plans have recently been announced for thousands of new homes to be built on Green Belt land, as Council’s struggle to meet the Government’s target of 1 million homes by 2020. Unsurprisingly this has not been met with much enthusiasm from the general population that largely wants to protect the Green Belt.
People in the UK have a special relationship with Green Belt land, however, even the term itself allows people to misconceive the type of land that it is. Many people make the assumption that the land is always green, which is often far from the case. This view is largely perpetuated by the Government that has been unwilling to discuss the term and address the inaccurate public perception of what the majority of Green Belt land actually is.
This has created something of an oxymoron, with local councils under pressure from the Government to allocate enough land for housing to meet the government’s housing target, while encouraging them to ring fence vast swathes of otherwise viable land. Indeed prominent politicians such as Savid Javid want to protect Green Belt at all costs, recently saying, “the green belt is absolutely sacrosanct…Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, we should not be carrying out any development on it”. However, if we are to have any hope of addressing our ever growing housing crisis, we need to allocate more land for development, particularly in urban areas and especially in and around London.
In fact there is a large amount of land which is classified as Green Belt that covers a wide range of different spaces that is perfectly suitable for development, some even being land with derelict buildings on wasteland. I am sure that many people living close to these derelict buildings might be surprised they are classified as Green Belt and would prefer the land to be developed into new housing with open green spaces, which would enhance the local community.
The quickest and most affordable solution to delivering thousands of homes is for a reconsideration of the land that is classified as Green Belt. This would ensure that the UK can develop much needed housing on wasted land, whilst also being able to conserve green spaces in the UK. The reality of the housing crisis is that we are in a desperate need for spaces for development to stop the continued inflation of house prices.
Our politicians need to take action for a review of what the Green Belt actually is.