We must explore all housing options
Re Letter of Jan. 8: Halt the loss of the green belt HAVING noted the planning inspector’s constructive remarks, the council withdrew the DDPD, moving straight to the preparation of a new, comprehensive Local Plan to take the district to 2036.
The inspector queried the adequacy of our assessment of housing demand and whether identified sites would deliver predicted housing numbers. Chiltern was not alone in receiving such comment.
Our intention to build between 2,650 and 2,900 homes in our towns and villages by 2026 was modest, given the South’s desperate need of housing.
A housing need assessment to 2036, part of the new plan process, will almost certainly produce a higher figure than our conurbations can accommodate, and it’s doubtful whether our neighbours will be able to meet our shortfall.
To demonstrate our preparedness to meet housing need, we must explore every avenue. We have to consider higher densities and even high-rise development as well as appraising the 88% of our district that is green belt. The principal purpose of the green belt is to maintain inter-community separation, deter countryside encroachment, protect heritage properties, and prevent urban sprawl. There may be parts which are less vital, where the need for housing outweighs possible harm.
Failure to do this could result in loss of planning control and a development free-for-all. Planning Chiltern’s future is vitally important in the face of unyielding pressures. Residents will, I hope, contribute to the consultation, details of which can be found on our website and in libraries.
CLLR ISOBEL DARBY Leader, Chiltern District Council