10 July 2015
Following the announcement by George Osbourne of the Government’s new planning measures to boost housing, Steve Fidgett, WYG’s Head of Planning UK, forewarns that the changes will have a positive effect but that local Councils will still face difficult choices, including a review of green field and Green Belt options.
In a 90-page document to be released today and entitled “Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation”, the Government sets out new measures aiming to boost housing delivery to meet the house building and affordable homes.
The potential changes include a new “zonal” system, employed in many other countries, which will give automatic planning permission in principle, subject to technical details, on all suitable brownfield sites, removing unnecessary delays to development.
Steve comments: “The announcement is a positive step towards helping meet housing supply, as is the emphasis on measures to increase the supply of brownfield sites in urban areas.”
However, if the level of new homes required to the need of the community is to be realised, then there will need to be a continued focus on new solutions to realise the step change needed in supply, Steve predicts.
He adds: “This will involve local Councils considering reviews of their Green Belt in order to provide the level of homes needed in a sustainable manner. This is entirely consistent with the achievement of a high quality of environment. “There will be a need for Councils to consider a qualitative assessment of Green Belts at a local level and whether the land currently included within them makes a positive contribution or may be more appropriately used for development that would meet local needs.”
This is consistent with Green Belt Policy and the long term protection of the openness of the countryside and the settings of our towns. It recognises the principle that over time, Green Belt boundaries do require periodic review to meet the needs and changing environment of our time.
WYG ranks as one of the top planning consultancies in the UK with a 115-strong team of planners based in 14 offices across the country.