Hammond Wants to Tear Up Green Belt for Housing, May Still resisting

Sorry missed this from lat week as behind the Times Paywall

The Sunday Times today says May still resisting. large scale Green belt Loss.

As I report here on a soon to be published GIS analysis I have conducted, Green Belt land does have a role to play around some highly constrained towns where there is little real alternative  in environmental terms (such as Oxford) – however in global terms it is irrelevant, as the scale of overspill needed from London is so huge there is little choice to build whole new cities, and these need to be sustainable to avoid traffic chaos, and the best sites for these are outside the Green Belt in the main, as accessible (to transit) sites in the Metropolitan Green Belt are mostly taken or AONB etc..  So only around 5.3% pf strategic scale (1,000 unit plus) schemes needs to come from the Green Belt North and West of London.  

The total loss of the Green Belt will be higher as you can expect around another 5% loss to come from smaller sites and village expansions, which so far local planning authorities have been meeting fairly well and with less controversy than you night expect, for those authorities (not so many) brave enough to publish plans with a serious likelihood of being found sound.  The real threat to the Green Belt come not from the South East but from the North West, where in any event political blowback had reduced the massive scale of loss proposed.

If the CPRE thought strategically they would accept a small % loss of GB in the South East as long as the larger loss in the North was reversed and as long as development was mainly diverted to good sites outside the Green Belt.  the risk is that at some point someone like Hammond, or Osborne will become Prime Minister and the Green Belt policy will be rendered meaningless.  It could be like New Zealand where the policy become totemic to those wishing to see a large uplift in housing by a new younger generation of politicians and so as there (the Urban Growth Boundary) simply be swept away.  The GB boundaries were supposted  to last 20 years, they have lasted 40-50.  The best way to ave the Green Belt is to strategically review it, before the temptation to do away with it becomes too attractive to politicians.

Business Insider

LONDON — Philip Hammond wants to tear up Britain’s green belt land for house building in his budget next month, as he looks for cost-free measures to address Britain’s housing crisis.

The chancellor has been pushing for green belt reforms for months inside the Cabinet, the Times reports, which would be made in an effort to tackle low productivity levels and meet national demand for housing.

Theresa May has so far resisted Hammond’s calls for the radical housing and planning policy changes, with a senior cabinet ally of the prime minister telling The Times that it was not on the budget agenda.

Whether more greenbelt land, which is undeveloped and often agricultural land surrounding urban areas, should be used for housebuilding is a contentious issue within the Conservative Party.

Conservative MPs like Hammond believe more building must take place on the greenbelt in order to address the national housing dilemma. However, many Tory MPs represent constituencies where residents live near or next to greenbelt land and don’t want their surroundings to become sites for housebuilding.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has previously said that there is a “housing crisis” and that up to 300,000 new homes need to built this year. He told the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show”: “I’m sure the budget will be covering housing.”

He said the government should consider whether it “can sensibly borrow more to invest in the infrastructure that leads to more housing, take advantage of some of the record low-interest rates that we have.”

It was reported in July that Hammond could make more than £1.5 million in a deal over a possible housing development on green-belt land he owns in Surrey.

Land Registry documents revealed that he had agreed an option with a housebuilder on the land next to his house, which could be worth more than £3 million if there was planning permission for houses. The chancellor would get half that amount.

One thought on “Hammond Wants to Tear Up Green Belt for Housing, May Still resisting

  1. Review of Green Belt in local plan reviews is common

    CPRE report:

    Nationwide, we are seeing a marked increase in planning permissions in the Green Belt, but by far the greatest challenge is coming from Local Plan reviews. Eighty percent of local planning authorities who have Green Belts are reviewing them during the current round of Local Plans. This suggests that changes to the Green Belt boundaries are becoming the norm, rather than the exception that national policy envisages.

    A strong Green Belt helps to focus development where it will deliver most benefit. That’s why, if the Green Belt boundaries do have to change to accommodate growth, those changes must be relevant and positive changes to Sheffield and its countryside. We have yet to see a method for Green Belt review that rises to that challenge.

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