It is only half because the other half have not yet published their plans or reviewed out of date plans with RSS housing targets. Many Green Belt authorities have deliberately delayed publishing plans with proposals for a couple of years to avoid controversial Green Belt loss before the 2014 elections. Take for examples ‘Pickles land’ Epping Forest, Brentwood and Basildon.
The Telegraph rather undermines the story by publishing a photo of Chipping Norton to accompany it. Which has no Green Belt.
I find it astonishing that Boles continues to try to score party political points on this matter. TRhat wont wash in that.
1) The 26 areas ‘threatended’ by RSS listed in the Conservative party press release when Pickles first proposed to abolish regional plans have all now proposed loss of Green Belt in their plans, having forced to by inspectors using the NPPF, or will shortly be forced to when they publish up to date plans.
2) The NPPF requires plans to meet unmet needs of their neighbors. Many authorities have already been forced to do so, the ‘right to grow’ is simply the consequences of this made explicit. Indeed Boles has been briefing MPs privately on the Hastings Decision which ‘dumps’ half of its housing need opn its rural neighbour. What rank hypocracy.
The LGIU survey is not yet online.
More than half of English councils with greenbelt land are preparing to allocate some of it for development ahead of brownfield sites, new research suggests.
A survey commissioned by the National Trust found that of 30 of the 59 councils that responded who had greenbelt land in their local authority area – 51% – were likely or very likely to allocate it for development in the next five years.
More than half of the 147 respondents to the survey by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) said they had brownfield sites available that could help meet a five-year housing land supply target – but these had not been considered viable.
The findings of the survey, conducted over the summer among senior officers and local politicians responsible for public parks, green spaces and planning, come 18 months after the government unveiled its controversial national planning policy framework. In the biggest shake-up of planning law for more than half a century, it cut planning rules from 1,000 to 50 pages in an attempt to speed up and simplify often complex laws and encourage sustainable economic growth.
Under the framework, local authorities are required to work out future housing needs in their area, and allocate sufficient land to meet it, with a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.
The National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have repeatedly criticised the new regulations, warning they are a developers’ charter that would lead to housebuilders and others concreting over the countryside.
The trust says that government promises to protect the greenbelt while promoting an explicit brownfield-first policy “seem to be coming undone in practice”, and that its findings confirm evidence published by the CPRE in August that the area of greenbelt under threat had nearly doubled in a year.
The chairman of the National Trust, Simon Jenkins, said: “The greenbelt has been the star feature of British town and country planning for half a century. In one of Europe’s most congested countries, it has prevented urban sprawl, protected a vision of rural England and retained access to green spaces for urban dwellers that has been admired worldwide.
“Some councils may want to review their greenbelt boundaries as has always been possible, but the planning system as a whole should attach a greater weight to protecting green spaces.
“The government’s definition of sustainable is in practice being interpreted as profitable, and has effectively killed the former planning presumption in favour of brownfield land. What is now happening is a policy of let rip, leading to steady erosion. For the first time in British planning history, planning control is now the slave not the master of profit.”
Chief executive of the LGIU, Jonathan Carr-West, said: “This research shows that the national planning policy framework and targets around housing supply are putting significant strain on councils’ ability to protect the greenbelt. It’s crucial that we build more houses but we need to allow local authorities the flexibility to take a strategic view on how this should be managed locally.”
The findings come as new national planning practice guidance is due to be issued by the government early in 2014. The National Trust said this could increase the threat to green spaces by causing local authorities to release more land than is necessary for development in the countryside, including the greenbelt.
Ministers are presiding over a “steady erosion” of the green belt, the National Trust warned on Wednesday, after a survey disclosed that more than half of councils are planning to build on protected rural land though other sites were available.
The trust claimed that half of the councils in England with green belt land were preparing to allocate some of it for development ahead of brownfield sites.
It said 51 per cent of councils it surveyed with green belts are now “likely” or “very likely” to allocate the land for development.
The findings will dismay countryside campaigners who have warned that the Coalition’s planning reforms have led to increased development on some of England’s most precious landscapes.
More than half of the 147 local authorities that responded to the National Trust survey said they had brownfield sites that could help meet the five-year housing land supply target. But these were not considered viable.
Sir Simon Jenkins, the National Trust’s chairman, said government policies had “effectively killed the planning presumption in favour of brownfield land”. He said that for the first time, planning control was “the slave not the master of profit”.
Changes to planning rules, brought in last year, introduced a new “presumption of sustainable development” to force through more housing proposals.
Councils that fail to adopt local plans setting out where building can take place are at risk from developers.
Sir Simon said: “The green belt has been the star feature of British town and country planning for half a century. In one of Europe’s most congested countries, it has prevented urban sprawl, protected a vision of rural England and retained access to green spaces for urban dwellers that has been admired worldwide.
“Some councils may want to review their green belt boundaries as has always been possible but the planning system as a whole should attach a greater weight to protecting green spaces. The Government’s definition of ‘sustainable’ is in practice being interpreted as ‘profitable’, and has effectively killed the former planning presumption in favour of brownfield land. What is now happening is a policy of let rip, leading to steady erosion. For the first time in British planning history, planning control is now the slave not the master of profit.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said earlier this year that the number of houses planned for green belt land had nearly doubled to 150,000 in the past 12 months.
Andrew Jones, the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, who sits on an all-party parliamentary group to oppose development on green belt land, said: “I want to see councils protect their green belts. They are the decision-making body. It is up to them to protect the local environment. We need some homes but we need to put them into places that protect our environment.”
Nick Boles, the planning minister, said: “The green belt has a valuable role in protecting against urban sprawl and provides a green lung round our towns.
“The Coalition Government has safeguarded national green belt protection, abolished Labour’s Regional Strategies which threatened to rip up the green belt and introduced a new protection for valuable green spaces.”
Mr Boles claimed that the biggest threat to the green belt was Ed Miliband’s plans to “allow urban councils to dump development on their rural neighbors”.