Bor­ough green belt tar­geted

Around 40% of new homes be­ing built on pre­vi­ously sacro­sanct land

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

TWO in ev­ery in five new houses in Hilling­don are built on green belt land, with the per­cent­age of homes built in the bor­ough last year reach­ing more than 10 times the na­tional av­er­age.

Fig­ures from the De­part­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment have re­vealed the pro­por­tion of new res­i­den­tial builds sit­u­ated on land pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated as green belt.

In Hilling­don, as much as 40 per cent of new res­i­den­tial builds were lo­cated on the green belt in 2014 and 2015 – the joint third high­est pro­por­tion na­tion­wide and 13 times higher than the na­tional av­er­age.

Com­pared to other west Lon­don bor­oughs, Hilling­don is an anom­aly, as Houn­slow is the only other place where any new houses were built on green belt, ac­cord­ing the the data.

Branch­ing out onto the green belt meant that new houses in Hilling­don were far less packed-in than new houses in other parts of Lon­don.

In Hilling­don, new houses were built in ar­eas with 44 ad­dresses per hectare on av­er­age, com­pared to 47 in both Har­row and Houn­slow and 113 in Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea.

Res­i­dents have pre­vi­ously ex­pressed con­cerns over fears green belt land in the bor­ough could be sold off and re­de­vel­oped, while Hilling­don Coun­cil has pros­e­cuted for an il­le­gal car park on green belt land, stat­ing that ‘pre­serv­ing green spa­ces is a coun­cil pri­or­ity’.

Caro­line Don­nelly, founder of Friends of Hayes End, an ‘in­for­mal res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion for peo­ple liv­ing and work­ing in and around Hayes End’, wants to pro­tect a 145-acre plot of green belt land in Hayes End.

She said: “I have to say I find the De­part­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment’s find­ings about Hilling­don’s track record in pre­serv­ing its sup­pos­edly sacro­sanct green belt ar­eas hugely trou­bling, and I’m sure many peo­ple in the lo­cal area will feel the same.

“In light of the re­cent sale of Hayes Park, which is home to a size­able tract of green belt land, these fig­ures serve to high­light pre­cisely why lo­cal res­i­dents are right to be wor­ried about whether or not the coun­cil will choose to up­hold the prom­ises made in its 2013 Green Belt As­sess­ment Up­date, to pre­serve this much-loved piece of pro­tected space, should the new own­ers seek per­mis­sion to build on it.

“One of the orig­i­nal aims of green belt land is to act as a buf­fer to pre­vent ur­ban sprawl within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“With the rapid and ex­pan­sive de­vel­op­ments go­ing on in Hayes Town, not to men­tion the loom­ing threat of a third run­way, we need to pro­tect the re­main­ing green spa­ces we have in the lo­cal area more than ever.”

Na­tion­ally, just three per cent of new houses were built on green belt land in 2014 and 2015, while eight per cent were built in ar­eas deemed to be of high flood risk by the En­vi­ron­ment Agency.

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