Fringe Box



Letter: Green Belt Protection Necessary to Encourage Brownfield Development

Published on: 1 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2017

From Susan Parker

GGG borough councillor for Send ward and chair of the Guildford Greenbelt Group

One of the key five purposes of green belt, as reiterated in the National Planning Policy Framework, is “to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land”.

We need to encourage house builders to use derelict land. Green belt provides a mechanism to force such regeneration. There is enough derelict and brownfield land to provide enough homes for a 10 year supply (as publicly stated by Lord Rogers, who knows a thing or two about regeneration). That statistic doesn’t include existing empty homes and there are more empty homes in this country than there are registered homeless people.

As a country, and as a borough, we don’t need to subsidise profiteering developers by offering them agricultural land cheaply and making planning on such land easier. We need our agricultural land to feed our population, and forest and our heathland for better air and for flood protection. Paul Bishop’s statement that “the only way to achieve more homes is to give house builders more land” is an apologia for destruction of our environment – and absolute nonsense.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Green Belt Protection Necessary to Encourage Brownfield Development

  1. Paul Bishop Reply

    January 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Susan Parker has completely misquoted me and put put it out of context.

    What I actually wrote in my comment was: “Unfortunately, the reality is we need more homes and the only way to achieve this is to give house builders space to build.”

    You will notice that nowhere in that comment did I state where I believe this space should come from, merely that we must accept that to build houses we need somewhere to put them. This is a very simple concept to get one’s head around: houses need space, we need houses, we must therefore find the space. I certainly never stated that it should be in green belt, brownfield or a yellow brick road. I also never said we should give developers land.

    Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else from the single issue GGG party than a rant on how important preserving the green belt is, conveniently ensuring their house values aren’t eroded.

    • Susan Parker Reply

      January 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      I apologise to Mr Bishop for the misquotation of his remarks, which was accidental. I should not have put my reference to his comment in inverted commas.

      I now understand that he said we should give developers space rather than land.

      I am grateful for his clarification.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      January 5, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Is this word ‘rant’ the new buzzword for displaying disgust at someone simply because they elegantly put their point of view which contradicts the writer?

      It seems to be used more and more often by those who object to the rational facts placed before them.

    • Harry Eve Reply

      January 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      While I understand Mr Bishop’s wish and right to correct a misquotation, I am surprised that he chose to ruin his comment with a criticism of those who wish to defend the green belt. He appears unable to accept that people actually value the countryside in a way that does not involve money.

  2. Paul Bishop Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I will try and clarify once again: I am of course not suggesting we should be gifting anything to developers; land, space or however one cares to describe a multiple dwelling building plot.

    My point is that it is all very well simply saying all this brownfield space is available. But more work is required to identify it correctly within the borough, and assess it for its ability to support a target housing density and then offered (under a commercial arrangement by whoever may own the land) to be built on.

    The reality is that there doesn’t seem to be any significant work by the council to proactively assess available brownfield sites with a view to making them available to be built on. Maybe something the GGG should be taking a lead on?

    I think the reality of the situation is that there a significant amount of brownfield sites with potential. But, when you start correctly assessing these sites and opening dialogue with the land owners the actual amount of genuinely suitable space significantly reduces.

    I also don’t really buy into the whole hatred against developers because they are making money from their business. House building is something we desperately need and unless the council are going to start to construct their own developments then the development companies are vital to meeting housing demand. Profit shouldn’t be a dirty word in any business, it is what sustains our economy.

    For information, I am not a developer of any kind, but I run a business and will always run my business to maximise profits to protect and grow my workforce.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Mr. Bishop states “Unfortunately, the reality is we need more homes…”.
    Many people will not accept that premise until the figures behind it have been made public.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *