Should we build in the Green Belt?
There is a huge pressure on planning authorities to release land from the Green Belt to meet demand for new houses. There are policies in place which are designed to protect the Green Belt.
Up until now the advice from planning officers seems to be that the need to meet demand overrides the need to protect the Green Belt. It seems that Eric Pickles begs to differ. New guidance, published on the 6th Oct states:
The National Planning Policy Framework should be read as a whole: need alone is not the only factor to be considered when drawing up a Local Plan.
The Framework is clear that local planning authorities should, through their Local Plans, meet objectively assessed needs unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole, or specific policies in the Framework indicate development should be restricted. Such policies include those relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives, and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or within a National Park or the Broads; designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.
The Framework makes clear that, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.
More info here.