Building on greenbelt - never believe when they say never!

A General Election has come and gone and we have Labour for a third term. One of the hotter underlying topics was the thorny issue of greenbelt.

In my last commentary, I pointed out that you should never believe a council that says "we will never build on greenbelt". It also now seems to run true that you should never believe a Government that says "we will never allow greenbelt to be developed".

Green Belt

For this month, in June 2005, it has been revealed in a parliamentary answer that an average of 2,400 acres of undeveloped greenbelt is being built on each year!

Or put another way - between 1997 and 2001, a city the size of Lincoln has been built on greenbelt land. Remember - this is greenbelt land that is 'protected' not greenfield land. Infact, greenbelts across the country are under pressure to make way for more housing.

An article in the Telegraph (12th June) revealed that last year greenbelts around Tyne and Wear, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, London and Cambridge had been moved to accommodate housing development. This year, greenbelts around Nottingham, Derby, London, Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester are all under review for the possibility of building more homes.

As the Daily Telegraph reported, "Figures show that 162 planning applications in green belts went unchallenged by the Government between 1997 and last year and that four per cent of all house building between 2000 and 2002 was in the green belt."

The table below show the amount of acreage that's now gone for development.

Area Acreage
South East 1,062
South West 284
North West 271
West Midlands 185
East Midlands 172
Yorkshire & the Humber 148
East of England 123
North East 111
London 36

I think this is another case where 'never' equals maybe!

UK Land Directory Comment - Aug 05

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