Borough green belt targeted
Around 40% of new homes being built on previously sacrosanct land
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.