Increased number of homes approved on Green Belt land, says report

Out-Law News | 12 Aug 2014 | 3:31 pm | 1 min. read

The number of homes being approved for construction on Green Belt land has more than doubled since 2010/11, according to a report by construction industry analysts Glenigan.

According to figures in the report, a total 1,061 residential projects on Green Belt land secured full planning permission in England in 2013/14, compared with 744 projects in 2009/10. These projects represented approval for 5,607 homes in 2013/14, more than twice the 2,258 approved five years earlier.

The report said that the overall number of Green Belt projects approved, including both residential and non-residential schemes, was up 16% on 2009-10 levels, but had decreased by 7% since 2011/12. The majority of developments applied for and approved, a reported 72% in 2013/14, were non-residential.

"Glenigan's analysis shows that a small but growing number of new homes are being granted on Green Belt locations," said the report. "In 2013/14, 1.6% of planning approvals for schemes of three or more homes were on the Green Belt, but the number of new homes involved is growing. As the demand for new homes increases as the economy recovers, so will the potential pressure on the Green Belt."

The Department of Communities and Local Government released a statement in response to the report, claiming that, according to government figures, "Green Belt development ... is at the lowest level (in terms of hectares) since 1989" and that the "Green Belt is now about 34,000 hectares larger than in 1997".

"We have fortified the Green Belt by abolishing the last government's top-down regional strategies, selling our surplus brownfield land for redevelopment, and introducing more flexible planning rights so empty and underused buildings can be brought back into productive use," said housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis in the statement.

"Local plans are now at the heart of the planning system, so councils decide where development should go," continued Lewis. "There is enough brownfield land to deliver up to 200,000 new homes and councils should be using their powers and the support that's available from the government to prioritise development on these sites and defend our valuable countryside against urban sprawl."