Three large areas of Green Belt could be lost this year to housing development around Hemel Hempstead and Tring if current plans are approved.
Dacorum Borough Council wants to bring forward proposals to build 1,500 houses in what many consider a knee-jerk reaction to perceived housing demand in the area.
Chiltern Society trustee, Paul Mason says ‘Green Belt is, of course, supposed to be protected and developed only in exceptional circumstances. Yet this latest move is unlikely to be the end of the Green Belt land grab. Dacorum and neighbouring Hertfordshire local authorities are planning to review Green Belt as part of a wholesale review of their Local Plan.
The Government continues to insist the Green Belt is safe in its hands. Yet the reality is many local authorities are steadily whittling it away as they try and cope with the Government’s unrealistic method of calculating future housing demand. The method for estimating future housing is clumsy and flawed. It needs to focus on realistic local requirements, including housing, business and infrastructure and not simply be a response to a blanket Government formulae’.
The Chiltern Society is the largest conservation charity in the Chilterns with over 7000 members and 500 volunteers. It has launched a planning campaign highlighting the unprecedented threat to the Chilterns from development and suggesting ideas to ease the pressure.
Society Chairman David Harris said: “We oppose new development in existing Green Belt which fails to protect its openness, or undermines its purposes, including the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas and neighbouring towns merging into one another.”
The public consultation on this latest onslaught on the Green Belt ends at midnight at Sunday 5 February, 2017. Members of the public can comment via http://consult.dacorum.gov.uk/portal/planning/mods/consult or speak to their local councillors.