Do pol­icy changes mean green light for green belt build­ing?

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE - Jonathon Wing­field

to as­sess the amount and na­ture of land that could be made avail­able for de­vel­op­ment to meet its tar­get for new hous­ing. This as­sess­ment, along with a range of other doc­u­ments, is used to in­form the prepa­ra­tion of a de­vel­op­ment plan by the coun­cil, which will iden­tify and al­lo­cate land for hous­ing. It will be sub­ject to com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and ex­am­ined by an In­de­pen­dent Plan­ning In­spec­tor at Public In­quiry.

The as­sess­ment is com­piled from sites iden­ti­fied by the coun­cil and sub­mit­ted by landown­ers and de­vel­op­ers. It is im­por­tant to note that a site’s in­clu­sion within this doc­u­ment does not nec­es­sar­ily mean it will be al­lo­cated for hous­ing and any al­lo­ca­tion would need to be tested against the prin­ci­ples of the Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work.

The re­cently re­leased Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work seeks to bal­ance the eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal roles of the plan­ning sys­tem in or­der to pro­mote sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

While sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and the de­liv­ery of new hous­ing are core plan­ning prin­ci­ples within the frame­work so to is the need to pro­tect the green belt and to recog­nise the in­trin­sic value and beauty of the coun­try­side. So any ar­gu­ments you and your neigh­bours have against de­vel­op­ment will be strong and will cer­tainly be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

The frame­work makes clear that al­lo­ca­tions of land for de­vel­op­ment should first fo­cus on land of lesser en­vi­ron­men­tal value and that coun­cil’s should en­cour­age the re-use of land that has been pre­vi­ously de­vel­oped. This is known as brown­field land.

The Gov­ern­ment has made it very clear that Green Belt pol­icy re­mains un­changed. The pur­pose be­ing, amongst other things, to re­strict ur­ban sprawl and to safe­guard the coun­try­side. They have stressed that very spe­cial cir­cum­stances will still be re­quired to al­low hous­ing de­vel­op­ment within it.

The Lo­cal Plan will re­main the key doc­u­ment guid­ing strate­gic de­vel­op­ment .This will seek to bal­ance the eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal di­men­sions of the plan­ning sys­tem and try to ac­com­mo­date growth in the most ap­pro­pri­ate and sus­tain­able way. While the Plan can in­clude re­views of Green Belt boundaries and con­sider hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions on green field land, they should also iden­tify land where de­vel­op­ment would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause of its en­vi­ron­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance. Cru­cially, the Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work re­tains a wide range of guid­ance which seeks to pro­tect land of sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal value and the recog­ni­tion of the in­trin­sic value of the coun­try­side and re­ten­tion of Green Belt Pol­icy em­pha­sises this. Un­for­tu­nately only time will tell the full im­pact that these changes in plan­ning pol­icy will have on our land­scape.

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