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HEIF Metropolitan Green Belt

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The Metropolitan Green Belt covers a large part of the Greater South East. It is a blunt policy instrument that ensures a high degree of enforcement and produces a range of unintended consequences. This has led to polarised positions. Its defenders argue for no change believing that any revision will be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ leading eventually to its demise. Opponents see a failure to address the consequences flowing from a long term restriction of land supply and point out that the world has changed since the Metropolitan Green Belt was conceived. The Metropolitan Green Belt raises questions about the scale of planning. The development of local plans can include a review of the Green Belt but this does not take place in a strategic context. In particular cross boundary considerations between London and its neighbouring authorities are limited yet the Metropolitan Green Belt clearly requires a coordinated approach. At the national level policy largely favours the status quo.

This year’s (2015-16) HEIF Project will draw together academic and practice views on the purpose of the Metropolitan Green Belt.  The project promotes constructive debate on the purpose and future form of the Metropolitan Green Belt in the context of contemporary housing need and urban development planning in the region. It also asks how, in an era of localism, collaboration can effectively be pursued between different scales and authorities when reviewing the Metropolitan Green Belt.

We are seeking to identify the possibility of a more flexible approach to the Metropolitan Green Belt that supports a clear purpose but which recognises the need for flexibility given the complex and changing needs of London and the wider South East. 

 

MAP GB 11

1 August 2016: A 21st Century Metropolitan Green Belt, Final Report

The project's final report is now published. The executive summary is also now published. We also published a video summarising the project's findings.

Click here to access the final report including the executive summary. Click here to watch the video.

 
MAP GB 13

17 June 2016: Invisible green belts in Beijing:  From romantic landscape to businesses opportunity, by Yimin Zhao

The green belt may be a British idea imported to China but the concept has worked out to be very different in practice. In the context of Beijing’s urbanisation, it turns out that the local state uses the ecological discourse of the green belt to legitimate its land businesses. Despite the differences, Yimin Zhao writes about the lessons from China for Britain.

Click here to read the blog.

 
MAP GB 23

Landscape planning: Enhancement blog

When it comes to the Metropolitan Green Belt, the question of landscape enhancement is inevitable. We turned to the Landscape Institute to understand some of the views on the relationship between Green Belt and landscape. 

Click here to read the blog.  

 
MAP GB 29

European Green BeltThe European Green Belt: An EU-Level Green Infrastructure Project

'As part of its post-2010 biodiversity policy, the European Commission has been developing a strategy for an EU-wide Green Infrastructure (GI). In May 2013, the Commission published a Communication on Green Infrastructure in which it defined the European Green Belt initiative as an EU-level GI-project'. 

Click here to access the article.

 
MAP GB 10

7 March 2016Here's why solving London's housing crisis will mean rethinking the green belt, City Metric (1/3/2016)

“All four of the major party candidates (Labour's Sadiq Khan, the Tories' Zac Goldsmith, the Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon and the Green Sian Berry) have ruled out even touching the green belt. Given the public support for keeping it intact, that isn't an irrational thing to do.

Nonetheless, a commitment to protecting London's green belt, come what may, is also a commitment to not solving London's housing crisis. Goldsmith and Khan may talk about protecting the green belt while campaigning. But will the next mayor be brave enough to break their promise and do the right thing in office?”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 2

7 March 2016: 3 things we learned from London mayoral hustings, Planning Resource (17/2/2016)

“Three things we learned from last night's London mayoral hustings on housing, infrastructure and growth, including that the candidates seeking election as mayor this May are united in their opposition to opening up the capital's green belt.”

Click here to read the article.

 

 
MAP GB 1

7 March 2016: Why the next London mayor will face pressure to build on the green belt, Planning Resource (1/29/16)

“Catriona Riddell, strategic planning convenor for the Planning Officers Society, said that new development in the metropolitan green belt was inevitable as pressure to meet housing targets increased. She said the only question would be whether that development came as the result of a region-wide review, a selection of sub-regional reviews, or private sector-led appeals.”

Click here to read the article. 

 
MAP GB 18

Shelter Policy Blog: Who can offer a Starter Home? 

Well, not many people it appears. “Only higher earners, in the top 30% have much of a chance, and in London only then if you’re a couple with two high incomes. Even then, that assumes that you’ve already got a hefty deposit saved up. For families without deposits, only the top 10% of earners will stand a chance”.

Click here to read the blog.

 
MAP GB 16

Planning Practice Guidance: Guidance on Starter Homes 

What is a Starter Home exactly? A starter home is for young first time buyers below the age of 40. It is a home sold 20% below the open market value. The maximum price for a starter home is £250,000 outside of London and £450,000 inside London. Starter Homes should be built on “under-used or unviable industrial and commercial land that has not been currently identified for housing”.

Click here to read the document.

 

 
MAP GB 20

29 January 2015: Green Belt: What's in a name?

Our first workshop on the purpose and means of the Metropolitan Green Belt was held on Thursday 21st in the afternoon. Among the attendees were many academics, planning organisations, urban think tanks and consultancies, and the CPRE.  

The goals of this workshop was to question the purposes of the Green Belt and to look at other ways we might achieve these purposes.

Click here to read the full blog.

 
MAP GB 29

BBC 2HDRay Mears on protecting the UK's Green Belt 

Survival expert Ray Mears talks about the importance to preserve the Green Belt, instead of property developers concreting over everything.

Click here to access video.

 
MAP GB 35

ITV TonightSam Bowman calls for an overhaul of the UK's planning system

Sam Bowman explains how a small portion of the MGB could be used to help reduce the cost of land and the cost of housing.

'Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, appeared on ITV Tonight's programme "Britain's Housing Crisis" and called for planning reform to allow building on small parts of the Green Belt; such a strategy would bring down the cost of land, and in turn, bring down the cost of housing'.

Click here to view the video.

 
MAP GB 30

Financial TimesUK eyes green belt for growth | A Plan For Britain

Financial Times highlights the classical debate between building on Green Belt to boost housing and economic growth and protecting the green belt.

"The pristine countryside encircling many British cities was once sacrosanct, but new reforms will make it easier to build on. UK news reporter Hannah Kuchler reports on whether the move will give the UK an economic boost and whether bulldozing fields can work politically."

Click here to view the video.

 
MAP GB 2

Samuel Stafford: The fifty shades planning blog

Samuel Stafford discusses the various and perhaps ambiguous meanings that the Green Belt connotes, and how these meanings come to be constructed.

Click here to access the article.

 
MAP GB 3

The StarDespite the Greenbelt, suburban sprawl presses on

An example from abroad: In Toronto, “Despite much-touted provincial regulations, dumb growth continues unabated on the ragged frontier of the megacity.”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 9

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment

The European Commission acknowledges urban sprawl as a problem for our cities but does not make the state green belts as a solution to counter urban sprawl. 

Click here to read the document. 

 
MAP GB 22

Campaign to Protect Rural England: Green Belts: a Greener Future 

CPRE and Natural England highlight the role of the Metropolitan Green Belt in dealing with urban sprawl. They also identify Green Belt benefits: allowing ecological networks, creating green recreations areas, and farming spaces.

Click here to read the report.

 
MAP GB 4

BBC: 'Ebbsfleet: Model garden city?'

8 years after the project started, only 350 housing units have been built in Ebbsfleet. Moreover, “there is a key difference between this new corporation and the traditional models […]: the land is in private hands […] rather than owned by the corporation itself.”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 3

The Guardian: 'The Planning Chief who says garden cities can solve the housing crisis'

Kate Henderson (TCPA) discusses the danger of the expression “garden city” being used as a political buzzword. She says: "When you come to many of these debates around the future of our communities, what you see is a very polarised debate where the economy is played off against the environment, when in fact they are two sides of the same coin. Actually the thing that's so often missed out from these debates is social justice. Who are these communities for?”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 2

The Guardian: 'Britain’s housing crisis: are garden cities the answer?'

The Ebbsfleet garden city project has many advantages on paper: good transportation infrastructure, availability of brownfield sites, the proximity to Bluewater shopping centre, and a Paramount project for the provision of many more jobs. However, the project has some limitations: the identity of the already implemented community – Swanscombe- are not taken into account and there is a risk for Ebbsfleet to become a dormitory suburb. 

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 17

Project launch event presentation: The Green Belt: The price we pay, Paul Cheschire

Paul Cheschire presented at our official project launch. He discussed perceived myths on the purposes of a green belt and offered alternative interpretations of the Green Belt as a possible to site to build new houses to help solve the housing crisis.

Click here to download the presentation.

 
MAP GB 9

Project launch event presentation: Securing Regional Buy-in for Reform, Ian Gordon

Ian Gordon presented at our official project launch. He discussed five credible requirements for substantial progress and the Outer London Commission report which suggests the possibility of a Mayoral led strategic review of GB inside of London. 

Click here to download the presentation.

 
MAP GB 7

11 December 2015: LSE Green Belt project | Official launch blog entry

Last Thursday saw the official launch of the 21st Century Metropolitan Green Belt project. A number of opinion formers were present - some in favour of the conservation of the Belt, others questioning its utility. There was general agreement that now is an important time to debate the Metropolitan Green Belt (MGB).

You can read the read the entire blog on our page here, or you can also download this blog entry in pdf form here.

 
MAP GB 33

Planning Resource: NPPF consultation: 10 things you need to know

The recent NPPF consultation shows a will to increase the supply of housing. The neighbourhood plans could be expected to target small-scale sites within the Metropolitan Green Belt for Starter Homes. This would result in developing brownfield land in the MGB, thus changing the paragraph 89 of the NPPF.

Click here to read the article (behind a pay wall). Click here for more information from the full report: Consultation on proposed changes to national planning policy (2015) 

 
MAP GB 3

The Independent: Government plans to relax laws against building on green belt land

Even though the NPPF consultation favours the implementation of Starter Homes (20% cheaper than normal homes) on the fringe of London, these homes would still not be affordable for families living on the National Living Wage. “The Starter Home scheme also only produces homes to buy, while increasing numbers of people are forced to rent in the private sector.”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 30

This is MONEY: 'Thousands of new family homes could be built on green belt land in the biggest shake up of planning rules for three decades

As the NPPF consultation seems to align with James Cameron’s goal to build more affordable housing, Clive Betts express his concern: “I have no problem with a proper review of the green belt to see whether it is all appropriate or whether more should be added in. But that is how it should be done, not as a bit of an opportunity to cherry pick the best sites by developers, which this sounds like it could develop into.”

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 26

The Guardian: Building on the green belt sounds great – just not in my back yard

A typical conversation on the Green Belt that highlights the power of NIMBYism.

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 21

Colnbrook Views: Cash for Green Belt: minutes show how councillors wrestled with their conscience over Solar Farm

"Minutes published from the Services Commitee on November 17, the last before Slough’s Planning Committee rejected the scheme on November 26, detail the discussions and deliberations that saw councillors soul searching over whether or not to support it."

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 23

Colnbrook Views: Infographic: Is our brownfield Green Belt up for grabs following the Spending Review?

In Colnbrook, the spending review highlights the possibility to release brownfield Green Belt for development, which brings discussion on what exactly brownfield is, especially when located in the Green Belt.

Click here to read the article.

 
MAP GB 19

Colnbroon Views: Solar Farm on Colnbrook Green Belt Refused

In Colnbrook, the Planning Committee has decided to protect the Green Belt, thus giving up a 360,000 community benefit fund proposed by the development of a solar farm. This application was however considered as interesting by several Parish Councillors, even though some of them stated they wanted to protect the Green Belt on their election.

Click here to read the article.

 

 

MAP GB 2

17 June 2016: Invisible green belts in Beijing:  From romantic landscape to businesses opportunity, by Yimin Zhao

The green belt may be a British idea imported to China but the concept has worked out to be very different in practice. In the context of Beijing’s urbanisation, it turns out that the local state uses the ecological discourse of the green belt to legitimate its land businesses. Despite the differences, Yimin Zhao writes about the lessons from China for Britain.

Click here to read the blog.

 
MAP GB 18

25 April 2016: Landscape planning: Enhancement blog

When it comes to the Metropolitan Green Belt, the question of landscape enhancement is inevitable. We turned to the Landscape Institute to understand some of the views on the relationship between Green Belt and landscape. 

Click here to read our blog for the discussion during the workshop. 

 
MAP GB 16

29 March 2016Infrastructure and land value: Transportation and housing

There have been recent announcements regarding infrastructure that were of importance for our discussion in our 4th workshop on infrastructure and land value, most recently the Budget announcement on Crossrail 2. The potential of transportation to help deliver new housing should not be minimized. According to TfL, 85% of housing delivered since 2010 is within 1km of a rail station. From this perspective, increasing transportation provision seems fundamental to delivering more housing.

Click here to read our blog of the discussion during our workshop.

 
MAP GB 13

4 March 2016: Key Facts on the Metropolitan Green Belt

What are some of key things you need to know about the Green Belt? Take a look at our key facts and then our quiz to test your knowledge of the Metropolitan Green Belt at large. 

Click here to read the key facts, and here to take our quiz.

 
MAP GB 12

20 FebruaryGarden cities and urban extensions, workshop three blog entry

On February 11th, 2016, we hosted our third workshop on garden cities and the green belt. A green belt would provide productive spaces and would also maintain separation between garden cities. As well as providing a familiar and visually acceptable form of development the garden city model also provides an economic model which we will pick up on later in the project.

Click here to read the entire blog entry.

 
MAP GB 11

5 February 2016Green Belt reviews and their outcomes, second workshop

For our second workshop, we wanted to look at a more practical way of understanding planning in the green belt. Due to the lack of guidance from the government, green belt assessments and green belt boundary reviews are currently the only way for local authorities to define a strategy on their green belt within their area. The objective of this workshop was to look at how green belt reviews are created and how they can influence change in the Metropolitan Green Belt. 

Click here to read the entire blog entry.

 
MAP GB 10

29 January 2015Green Belt: What's in a name?

Our first workshop on the purpose and means of the Metropolitan Green Belt was held on Thursday 21st in the afternoon. Among the attendees were many academics, planning organisations, urban think tanks and consultancies, and the CPRE.  

The goals of this workshop was to question the purposes of the Green Belt and to look at other ways we might achieve these purposes.

Click here to read the full blog.

 
MAP GB 1

11 December 2015: LSE Green Belt project | Official launch blog entry

Last Thursday saw the official launch of the 21st Century Metropolitan Green Belt project. A number of opinion formers were present - some in favour of the conservation of the Belt, others questioning its utility. There was general agreement that now is an important time to debate the Metropolitan Green Belt (MGB).

You can read the read the entire blog on our page here, or you can also download this blog entry in pdf form here.

 

 

A 21st Century Metropolitan Green Belt

 

Events held

MAP GB 1

26 May 2016

Final event: Executive summary report launch

The executive summary and the final report will be published on 25 July 2016.

 MAP GB 2

5 May 2016

Workshop 6: Recommendations

 MAP GB 3

14 April 2016

Workshop 5: Landscape planning

Our fifth workshop was on the inevitable question of landscape enhancement. We identified three broad areas to consider if we want to make the most of the landscapes in the Metropolitan Green Belt.

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 4

7 April 2016

Meeting 3: Steering group

 MAP GB 5

10 March 2016

Workshop 4: Infrastructure and land value

Our fourth workshop was particularly timely given various announcements on infrastructure, most recently the Budget announcement on Crossrail 2. We discussed several ways in which transportation can be improved. 

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 7

11 February 2016

Workshop 3: Garden cities & urban extensions

In our third workshop we explored the role of green belts in garden cities. We took inspiration from Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of To-morrow. We also discussed urban extensions, as recommended by Town & Country Planning Association.

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 8

2 February 2016

Meeting 2: Steering group

 MAP GB 10

28 January 2016

Workshop 2: Methods of review and their outcomes

For our second workshop, we wanted to look at more practical ways of understanding planning in the green belt. The objective of this workshop was to look at how green belt reviews are created and how they can influence change in the Metropolitan Green Belt.

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 12

 21 January 2016

Workshop 1: Purpose and means

What's in a name? Our first workshop exploring purposes of the Metropolitican Green Belt was held on 21 January. The goals of this workshop were to question the purposes of the Green Belt and to look at other ways we might achieve these purposes.

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 9

3 December 2015

Official launch event

On 3 December we hosted the official launch of the 21st Century Metropolitan Green Belt project. A number of opinion formers were present - some in favour of the conservation of the Belt, others questioning its utility. There was general agreement that now is an important time to debate the Metropolitan Green Belt.

Click here to read our blog summarising the discussion.

 MAP GB 13

9 November 2015

Meeting 1: Steering group 

Our Green Belt

 

London

MAP GB 1

10 June 2016: Is it really time to start building on the green belt?

Tony Mulhall, Associate Director Land Professional Group of theRoyal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), asks this provocative question citing our project and drawing implications about densification and development in relation to housing demands in London.

Click here to access the article. 

 MAP GB 26

25 April 2016New homes eroding green belt 'at fastest rate for 20 years'

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) on the The Guardian speaking of the 55,000 new builds that have come up on the green belt in the past year. They claim 'London and the West Midlands under particular threat'. 

Click here to access the article. 

 MAP GB 18

March 2016Outer London Commission Seventh Report: accommodating london’s growth

The Outer London Commission puts forth recommendations on the role the Green Belt may play in accomodating London's growth. They suggest that selective release and review of Green Belt land alongside broader strategies for changes in Green Belt policy.

Click here to access the report.

 MAP GB 34

February 2016: When Brownfield isn’t Enough; Strategic Options for London’s Growth

This report addresses the popular theory that developing brownfield land is the solution for London's housing woes. It documents London's shortage of vast swathes of vacant brownfield since 'almost all of London’s brownfield is already in use, or is already part of plans for new housing'.

Click here to access the report.

 MAP GB 11

January 2016: A garden of one’s own: Suggestions for development in the metropolitan Green Belt

Tom Papworth looks at six scenarios to identify where developments could take place. The paper also identifies specific areas where tens of thousands of dwellings can be built.

Click here to access the report.

 

MAP GB 5

October 2015Mega Planning: Beyond 2050 – MegaPlan for a MegaCity

GL Hearn’s plan for the future of London and the rise of its population to 10 million inhabitants. This plan was selected by New London Architecture as one of the top 10 ideas to help solve the London housing shortage.

Click here to access the document.

 MAP GB 31

August 2015Green Belt myths: CPRE's guide to what you need to know

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) puts forth their views on the green belt. They point out what they perceive to be myths based on 'selective reading of the relevant evidence'. 

Click here to access the document.

 MAP GB 12

7 July 2016Big Bold Global Connected London 2065

This is a manifesto outlining AECOM’s vision of the future of London. They argue that the Metropolitan Green Belt needs to modernise in order for London to remain competitive on a global scale.

Click here to access the report.

 

MAP GB 9

February 2015The Green Belt: A place for Londoners? 

A report on London First, Quod and SERC to encourage Green Belt review by Local Authorities and to give a better understanding specific definitions of the London's Green Belt. 

Click here to access the report.

 

MAP GB 6

January 2015Population Growth in London, 1939-2015 

This document provides a summary of the population trends in London from 1939 to 2015. They detail a trajectory of population size and shifts over time. This is relevant to our Green Belt project seeing as population changes impact housing needs.

Click here to access the document.

 

MAP GB 8

November 2014Planning Advisory Service/ No5 Chambers. Plan-Making Case Law Update, Main Issue 4: Green Belt.

“This document forms part of a series of 4 documents providing updates on case law in the plan-making sphere, accompanied by the relevant Official Transcripts.” These documents are only meant to serve as general guides.

Click here to access the report. 

 MAP GB 13

9 July 2014Building on Greenbelt land: so where?

Prof Paul Cheschire follows up on Barney Stringer's (see below) comment on the urgent need to start building on the green belt. The question is where? He takes up this question in this blog entry for Spatial Economics Research Centre.

Click here to access the blog.

 

 

 

MAP GB 10

20 August 2014London’s refusal to build on green belt land causes concern among neighbours

Matthew Spry and Bethan Haynes write about the leapfrog implications of maintaining the Green Belt around London. The article discusses how extra homes may be needed to keep up with population growth.

Click  here to access the article. 

 MAP GB 17

June 2014Is the Green Belt sustainable?

Barney Stringer examines the Green Belt within 10 minutes walk of a station. 'Is it time the debate about the Green Belt got specific? It may have a part to play in solving the housing crisis, but only if we can make the really hard site-by-site decisions about where. This post aims to help start that debate on specifics, with a map you can explore'.

Click here to access the blog. 

 

MAP GB 11

20 May 2014Housing's undersupply is set to continue

Susan Emmett writes for Savills about the expanding population with the boundaries of London's 32 boroughs and its implictions for Green Belt land considering the development restrictions. A careful balance between housing needs and an sensible Green Belt policy is advocated for in this piece.

Click here to access the article.

 

MAP GB 12

September 2013New estimates of housing demand and need in England, 2011 to 2031

“This paper provides estimates of the number of households, housing requirements, and the split between market and social/affordable housing at national and regional levels.”

Click here to access the article.

 MAP GB 3

June 2009Brownfield market signals: Greenfield housing land supply and the viability of brownfield housing developments

This study seeks to understand the interactions between local land markets and how development sites compete for investment as a way to explore the potential of brownfield sites.

Click here to access the article.

 

UK

MAP GB 21

December 2015Consultation on proposed changes to national planning policy

This consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government addresses the case for starter homes and brownfield in the Green Belt. 

Click here to access the document.

 MAP GB 4

November 2014From wasted space to living spaces: The availability of brownfield land for housing development in England

This article makes the argument regarding the availability of brownfield in England for housing development. This comes from data that councils have gathered on the capacity for at least 1 million homes in brownfield sites.

Click here to access the article.

 MAP GB 13

October 2014Delivering change: Building homes where we need them

Centre for Cities addresses the question of green belts and their role in urban life. 'Many of Britain’s least affordable cities do not have enough brownfield land, that is suitable for housing, to meet their needs. Cities need to be bold in using their powers to identify green belt land that is well connected but of poor quality – not all green belt is green – or has little value to the local community and re-designate it for housing'.

Click here to access the report.

 MAP GB 27

August 2014Uxcester: Garden city

In this essay, URBED describes a plan to create a fictional garden city with a population of almost 400,000 people which would double its current population size. This fictional city is based on a real city, or perhaps more accurate an amalgam of cities with 'long histories, established institutions and settled communities'.

Click here to access the document.

 MAP GB 35

April 2014:The TCPA Garden City Principles 

The Town and Country Planning Association outlines holistic principles on the purposes of a garden city. They argue it should enhance 'the natural environment and provides high-quality social housing and local jobs in a beautiful, healthy place with diverse communities.

Click here to access the report. 

 MAP GB 26

March 2014Better places to live by design: companion guide to planning policy guidance 3

“Better places to live challenges local authorities and developers to think more imaginatively about design and layout. It is not a manual to be applied by rote or a substitute for using skilled designers. It is about promoting greater flair in creating better places in which to live.”

Click here to access the document.

 

MAP GB 13

27 March 2012National Planning Policy Framework

The framework acts as guidance for local planning authorities and decision-takers, both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications. This also sets the policies and purposes for the Green Belts in England. 

Click here to access the document.

 MAP GB 30

February 2010A Natural England survey into public attitudes towards the Green Belt

This Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) conducted 1754 interviews that covered Green Belt land aspects in England such as: awareness and attitutes; perceived importance; usage and future use. This report is a product of that research project.

Click here to access the document.

 

MAP GB 4

November 2005: Towards a Strong Urban Renaissance, Urban Task Force

Professor Sir Peter Hall writes a footnote in this report objecting to the need to protect greenfield land, noting that current policy hinders the development of needed housing in South East England.

Click here to access the report and read the footnote.

 

International

China

MAP GB 5

17 June 2016:   Invisible green belts in Beijing:    From romantic landscape to businesses opportunity

The green belt may be a British idea imported to China but the concept has worked out to be very different in practice. In the context of Beijing’s urbanisation, it turns out that the local state uses the ecological discourse of the green belt to legitimate its land businesses. Despite the differences, Yimin Zhao writes about the lessons from China for Britain.

Click here to read the blog.

Samuel StaffordThe fifty shades planning blog

Samuel Stafford discusses the various and perhaps ambiguous meanings that the Green Belt connotes, and how these meanings come to be constructed.

Click here to access the article.

 
The Star

The StarDespite the Greenbelt, suburban sprawl presses on

An example from abroad: In Toronto, “Despite much-touted provincial regulations, dumb growth continues unabated on the ragged frontier of the megacity.”

Click here to read the article.

 
EUR Rpt

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment

The European Commission acknowledges urban sprawl as a problem for our cities but does not make the state green belts as a solution to counter urban sprawl. 

Click here to read the document. 

 
Green Belts

Campaign to Protect Rural EnglandGreen Belts: a Greener Future 

CPRE and Natural England highlight the role of the Metropolitan Green Belt in dealing with urban sprawl. They also identify Green Belt benefits: allowing ecological networks, creating green recreations areas, and farming spaces.

Click here to read the report.

 
Ebbsfleet

BBC: 'Ebbsfleet: Model garden city?'

8 years after the project started, only 350 housing units have been built in Ebbsfleet. Moreover, “there is a key difference between this new corporation and the traditional models […]: the land is in private hands […] rather than owned by the corporation itself.”

Click here to read the article.

 
Kate Henderson

The Guardian: 'The Planning Chief who says garden cities can solve the housing crisis'

Kate Henderson (TCPA) discusses the danger of the expression “garden city” being used as a political buzzword. She says: "When you come to many of these debates around the future of our communities, what you see is a very polarised debate where the economy is played off against the environment, when in fact they are two sides of the same coin. Actually the thing that's so often missed out from these debates is social justice. Who are these communities for?”

Click here to read the article.

 
Garden Cities

The Guardian: 'Britain’s housing crisis: are garden cities the answer?'

The Ebbsfleet garden city project has many advantages on paper: good transportation infrastructure, availability of brownfield sites, the proximity to Bluewater shopping centre, and a Paramount project for the provision of many more jobs. However, the project has some limitations: the identity of the already implemented community – Swanscombe- are not taken into account and there is a risk for Ebbsfleet to become a dormitory suburb. 

Click here to read the article.

 
Consultation

Planning Resource: NPPF consultation: 10 things you need to know

The recent NPPF consultation shows a will to increase the supply of housing. The neighbourhood plans could be expected to target small-scale sites within the Metropolitan Green Belt for Starter Homes. This would result in developing brownfield land in the MGB, thus changing the paragraph 89 of the NPPF.

Click here to read the article (behind a pay wall). Click here for more information from the full report: Consultation on proposed changes to national planning policy (2015) 

 
Starter Homes

The Independent: Government plans to relax laws against building on green belt land

Even though the NPPF consultation favours the implementation of Starter Homes (20% cheaper than normal homes) on the fringe of London, these homes would still not be affordable for families living on the National Living Wage. “The Starter Home scheme also only produces homes to buy, while increasing numbers of people are forced to rent in the private sector.”

Click here to read the article.

 
NPFF

This is MONEY: 'Thousands of new family homes could be built on green belt land in the biggest shake up of planning rules for three decades

As the NPPF consultation seems to align with James Cameron’s goal to build more affordable housing, Clive Betts express his concern: “I have no problem with a proper review of the green belt to see whether it is all appropriate or whether more should be added in. But that is how it should be done, not as a bit of an opportunity to cherry pick the best sites by developers, which this sounds like it could develop into.”

Click here to read the article.

 
NIMBYism

The GuardianBuilding on the green belt sounds great – just not in my back yard

A typical conversation on the Green Belt that highlights the power of NIMBYism.

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Solar Farm Refused

Solar Farm on Colnbrook Green Belt Refused

In Colnbrook, the Planning Committee has decided to protect the Green Belt, thus giving up a 360,000 community benefit fund proposed by the development of a solar farm. This application was however considered as interesting by several Parish Councillors, even though some of them stated they wanted to protect the Green Belt on their election.

Click here to access the article.

 
GB Infographic

Infographic: Is our brownfield Green Belt up for grabs following the Spending Review?

In Colnbrook, the spending review highlights the possibility to release brownfield Green Belt for development, which brings discussion on what exactly brownfield is, especially when located in the Green Belt.

Click here to access the article.

 
Cash for greenbelt

Cash for Green Belt: minutes show how councillors wrestled with their conscience over Solar Farm

"Minutes published from the Services Commitee on November 17, the last before Slough’s Planning Committee rejected the scheme on November 26, detail the discussions and deliberations that saw councillors soul searching over whether or not to support it."

Click here to access the article.

 
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