The green belt is of ben­e­fit for all

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

The joint spa­tial plan (JSP) pro­duced by the West of Eng­land Com­bined Au­thor­ity states that there needs to be an ad­di­tional 14,500 homes built in the Bath and North East Som­er­set Coun­cil area by 2036. This is an area where over 70 per cent of land is cur­rently in green belt and over 80 per cent of land is used for agri­cul­ture. The pres­sure by de­vel­op­ers to build on green belt land is enor­mous. It is an im­por­tant time to re­mind our­selves of the pur­poses of green belt: Green belt serves five pur­poses: to check the un­re­stricted sprawl of large built-up ar­eas to pre­vent neigh­bour­ing towns merg­ing into one an­other to as­sist in safe­guard­ing the coun­try­side from en­croach­ment to pre­serve the set­ting and spe­cial char­ac­ter of his­toric towns to as­sist in ur­ban re­gen­er­a­tion, by en­cour­ag­ing the re­cy­cling of derelict and other ur­ban land Green belt land is not about pretty views for those that live there. Green belt pro­vides es­sen­tial agri­cul­tural land, habi­tats for wildlife, nat­u­ral car­bon cap­ture, recre­ational ac­tiv­ity, a haven of peace and well-be­ing, as well as pre­serv­ing the es­sen­tial char­ac­ter of our towns and vil­lages. The green belt is of ben­e­fit for res­i­dents in ur­ban ar­eas such as Bath as well as ru­ral ar­eas. “Ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances” have to be demon­strated to build on green belt land. The word ex­cep­tional should not be re­placed by con­ve­nient. Hous­ing needs to be built on brown-field sites first. Hous­ing needs to be built where jobs and fa­cil­i­ties ex­ist to min­imise the need for travel. If vil­lage com­mu­ni­ties de­sire small-scale hous­ing de­vel­op­ment with af­ford­able hous­ing to meet their needs, that is fine. What is un­ac­cept­able is im­posed large scale de­vel­op­ment chang­ing the char­ac­ter of our vil­lages. Bath and North East Som­er­set Coun­cil is pro­duc­ing a lo­cal plan which goes out for con­sul­ta­tion in 2019. It is im­por­tant that ev­ery­one reg­is­ters their views. Salt­ford, Compton Dando, Corston, New­ton St Loe, Bur­nett, Chew­ton Keyn­sham, and Queen Charl­ton are won­der­ful ex­am­ples of vil­lages whose iden­tity and char­ac­ter need pre­serv­ing. This is our top pri­or­ity. Dun­can Houn­sell Alas­tair Sin­gle­ton Lib­eral Demo­crat spokesper­sons for Salt­ford and the vil­lages

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.