Fears for Yorkshire's green belt

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th November 2017, 4:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th November 2017, 4:19 pm

Fears for the potential loss of green belt land to housing has prompted campaigners to write to Yorkshire MPs in a bid to influence the Chancellor not to relax green belt protection in the Autumn budget.

Members of the Campaign to Protect Rural England have asked all Sheffield's MPs to help change the Chancellor's focus to investing more in affordable housing and brownfield sites.

The plea comes at a time when Sheffield's green belt is under huge threat from housing developers.

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Nationally the number of planning applications being approved on greenfield sites in the Green Belt has nearly doubled since 2012.

Recent research by the CPRE has found that, despite Government commitments to enforce their own policies on green belt protection, the number of houses now planned for the green belt is over 425,000, an increase of 50 per cent on 2016.

At a time when more than 1.8 million households in England are waiting for social homes, nearly three-quarters of the housing proposed on land to be released from the green belt will be unaffordable for most people living in the local area.

CPRE’s research showed that since 2009 only 16 per cent of houses built on green belt outside of local plans were classed as affordable.

On 22 November Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will announce his Autumn Budget, and is proposing release of green belt land for housing.

Andy Tickle, director of CPRE’s South Yorkshire branch said: “Releasing green belt land will not tackle the housing crisis, as the crisis is one of affordability, not simply land availability. Instead we will sacrifice local countryside needlessly.

"That’s why we’re asking local MPs to support our action and join us in calling on the Government to tackle the affordable housing crisis in the upcoming Autumn Budget”.

CPRE would like to see the budget include much more effective measures such as stopping the use of viability assessments by developers to undercut their affordable housing requirements plus a mixture of ‘carrot and stick’ to speed up build out rates.

Developers’ existing commitments must be met before further land is released. Brownfield sites continue to offer investment possibilities.