The ‘green belt’ concept is misunderstood, polarising and toxic and needs to be reimagined for the 21st century, argues Samuel Stafford
The mere mention of the words ‘green belt’ raises hackles. There are some who consider it’s present boundaries to be sacrosanct. There are others who would do away with it all together. Neither position is tenable, but there is a trend towards an entrenchment of these positions that makes sensible conversations about meeting housing needs almost impossible.
Housing need is an irresistible force. A 2022 report from Lichfields analysed every local authority’s brownfield register and concluded that, even if every identified site was built to its full capacity, the capacity of previously-developed land equates to 1 million net dwellings, which is just under a third of the 4.5 million homes that are needed over the next fifteen years.
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