Reclassifying land as “Green Belt”

It is important politically that the area of Green Belt in England does not decrease.

As such, for every piece of land the Councils take out of the Green Belt to allow for house building – there needs to be at least the same amount of land that is reclassified as Green Belt.

Green Belt

Thus on looking at the “Development Strategy, Green Belt and Housing chapter of the Structure Plan for Hertfordshire ( the following is mentioned that lead to a loss of Green Belt:

“Green Belt boundaries will be reviewed with an eye to exclusions to allow for the strategic housing developments for which provision is made under Policy 8. In the case of development west of the A1 (M) at Stevenage the review will take account of the long term possibility of a total development of 10,000 dwellings.

“Land suitable for strategic housing allocations, together with necessary associated development, will be identified in the following locations indicated on the Key Diagram and excluded from the Green Belt -

Dacorum, Hemel Hempstead 1,000

Stevenage, West of A1(M) 1,000

North Herts, West of A1(M) 2,600

But the above loss of Green Belt to House development is off set by Green Belt extensions:

“The Green Belt will be extended to include the following areas as indicated on the Key Diagram:

(i) an area in the neighbourhood of Markyate bounded by the existing Green Belt to the east, the Chilterns AONB to the west and the County boundary to the north;

(ii) an extension designed to contain development west of the A1(M) at Stevenage and bounded by the Metropolitan Green Belt to the south, the Luton Green Belt to the west and the A505 to the north.”

This “juggling” of land classification just shows how fluid the Green Belt is. However it is a political necessity to allow elected officials to claim that:

“We only allow very limited building on the Green Belt”

Because land that is to receive large-scale housing development is excluded form the Green Belt PRIOR to gaining the required planning permission.

“The Green Belt has increased under our administration”

Because more green field land has gained “Green Belt” status, than Green Belt land that has lost its Green Belt status prior to being built on.

This situation keeps everyone happy:

Countryside Campaigners are happy because the Green Belt is increasing.

Elected Officials are happy as they can claim that the Green Belt is safe in their hands.

Land Owners and Property Developers are happy as they continue to make large “windfall” profits as (cheap) Green Belt plots of land are re-classified allowing the land to become “building plots”.

March 2004

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