CPRE questions Government over Green Belt as 15,000 Gloucestershire homes announced
The number of houses planned for Green Belt land has nearly doubled over the past year, according to new figures.
Some 150,000 homes and 1,000 hectares of mines and commercial premises are being proposed for the areas, research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England found. Previous analysis suggested just 81,000 homes were planned in August 2012.
The group said the figures raised serious concerns about whether ministers were keeping their promises to safeguard the Green Belt.
Spokesman Paul Miner said: “The extent to which the threat is growing – nearly doubling in a year – is deeply worrying. “It should not be necessary to build on Green Belt land when there is enough brownfield land available for a million and a half new homes. “Green Belts prevent urban sprawl and are the green lungs of many of our largest or most historic towns and cities. “Ministers now need to go further. Hard decisions are needed to help ensure both urban regeneration and protection of the Green Belt’.”
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The figures come shortly after the news that council chiefs in Gloucestershire expect 33,449 houses to be built across Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester between 2011 and 2031, with thousands of homes to be built on the prized green space.
The housing blueprint will see more than 3,500 acres of land released from the Green Belt and earmarked for development – about 20 per cent of the area's total Green Belt, the equivalent of 2,000 football pitches.
Housing minister Mark Prisk said: ``This Government has explicitly stated it will maintain Green Belt protections. The Green Belt provides a valuable role in protecting against urban sprawl and providing a green lung around our towns and cities.
“We have increased Green Belt protections by abolishing every single one of the last Government’s top-down Regional Strategies that sought to delete the Green Belt in 30 areas – Local Plans are now sovereign.
“We have also made it clear that the Green Belt is an inappropriate place for traveller sites and waste facilities, which will prevent speculative applications.
“In addition, the Government is also selling off surplus public-sector brownfield land and has extended permitted development rights on developed brownfield sites to help bring thousands of empty and underused buildings back into use.”
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