Green Belt should be saved from development, says the Chiltern Society

  |  Published: Mar 22nd 2016

Building new homes in the Green Belt is not an option local councils should contemplate when deciding where to allow development in the future, says the conservation group the Chiltern Society.

In its response to the public consultation for the emerging Local Plan being prepared by Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils, the Society, which has 7,000 members, says there are no extraordinary circumstances warranting a change in Green Belt areas.

“National planning policy itself states  that the fundamental aim of Green Belt is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open,” says the Society.  “The essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.”

It adds: “The Green Belt functions as a whole, not as a collection of parcels.  Subdividing it into parcels…might seem logical. However, it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the value and the integrity of the Green Belt.

“We think that development in the Green Belt is planning creep on a grand scale, one that will be impossible to stop and will result in the loss of this environmental asset.”

The Society says future housing need can be met by developing professional town planning instead of simply identifying an available development plot and considering a planning application. Need can also be met by a mixture of increased density, using existing brown field sites which have previously been used for development, and stimulating the release of large houses into down-sized accommodation.

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