Fringe Box



Letter: We Protect Green Belt, Say Tories, As 20,000 Hectares Surrendered To Developers

Published on: 13 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2020

From Fiona Curtis

In response to: Feeding Developers Green Belt Will Prevent Urban Renewal

Having read the latest government report as well as its predecessors (since 2010), I was shocked to realise just how much green belt land GBC was willing to surrender, particularly when this is one of the very few areas where constraints could have been applied before the Local Plan was approved. A few points jumped out.

Over 2019-20, almost half (46%) of all the green belt in England that lost its status was in just one borough, Guildford. The amount lost in England that year alone was about the same size as the built-up areas of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs or Basingstoke.

Only four councils have ever released more than 1,000 hectares of green belt in a single Local Plan. These were Guildford (2019) East Hertfordshire (2018) and both Warwick and Coventry in 2017.

Between 2010 and 2013, 13 authorities changed their green belt boundaries to make room for development in the countryside. Between 2014 and 2019, 65 authorities followed similar paths, the near-doubling number in the past couple of years showing a worrying increase in confidence as policies are weakened to make green belt erosion easier.

Since 2013, 19,970 hectares of green belt have been lost in England, which equates to roughly the same size as the built-up area of south Hampshire (Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Horndean), plus a third of Bedford.

This horrifying amount of green belt has been lost in just six years under a government that brags of protecting the green belt.

Hopefully, R4GV will review and curtail this loss to reflect significant changes, including funding not being made available for the A3 widening scheme, naming just one.

As David Roberts states in his letter, the likelihood of urban renewal moving from a plan to reality is surely greater when alternatives such as sprawl into Guildford’s countryside at an unprecedented rate are reduced.

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Responses to Letter: We Protect Green Belt, Say Tories, As 20,000 Hectares Surrendered To Developers

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 13, 2020 at 10:32 am

    This is a scandal, and we deserve to be told by the former leaders why they felt it necessary to hand over so much of our green belt to developers. The current leadership will now need to review the plan or explain why they feel it necessary to continue this outrage.

    For Guildford to provide 46% of all green belt sacrificed in the entire UK cannot be justified, and is patently unfair.

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