Less than 30% of homes planned for green belt are affordable, says CPRE

4 Jul 17

Some 425,000 houses are planned for green belt sites, of which more than 70% will be unaffordable, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has said.

Its annual Green Belt Under Siege report noted these homes represented a 54% increase on the position in March 2016, the greatest year-on-year jump in 20 years.

Sites were under particular pressure in the North West, West Midlands and South East.

One factor driving building in the green belt was that councils that gave planning permission for these homes stood to receive some £2.4bn in all from the New Homes Bonus.

CPRE director of campaigns and policy Tom Fyans said: “Green belt is being lost at an ever faster rate, yet the type of housing being built now or in the future will do very little to address the affordable housing crisis faced by many families and young people.

“We must not be the generation that sells off our precious green belt in the mistaken belief it will help improve the affordability of housing. The only ones set to benefit from future green belt development will be landowners and the big housebuilders, not communities in need of decent, affordable housing.”

Fyans said land for new homes should instead be sought from brownfield sites in urban areas.

The CPRE noted that while the Conservative manifesto pledged to “maintain the existing strong protections on designated land like the green belt”, proposals in February’s housing white paper could see this land turned over to housing in areas where developers fail to build at the required speed.

Green belts were first designated in 1955 and were designed to prevent urban areas sprawling into each other.

The land is protected from development but need not necessarily be of other environmental value.

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