Green belt is a government policy introduced to restrict urban sprawl in certain big towns and cities to stop them growing too big. Green belt was introduced by the Greater London Regional Planning Committee in 1935 where the Metropolitan Green Belt was established to slow the rapid growth of London. Following this, the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 enabled local authorities to plan for green belt proposals of their own. Now-a-days there are 14 green belts which cover roughly 13% of total land in England.
Green belts remain under major threat with increasing pressure to build on the land. Due to the National Planning Policy being increasingly ineffective green belt land is lost to residential developments that rarely meet local housing needs. Building on green belt is wastefully inefficient, with extraordinarily low densities of development in these sites. One of the main reasons for the constant threat to green belt is the rate of development; In August 2012, there were 81,000 houses proposed on green belt land. By March 2016, this number had more than tripled, to 275,000. And in 2018 the number was at 460,000 houses with the numbers continuing to increase.
Green belt poses more than just an issue for housing developers, it has been criticised for its role in the current housing crisis. It is being blamed for pushing up housing prices as the cost of land has increased over the years. The houses being built on the green belt have less than 22% of housing units with planning permission meet the government’s definition of affordable.
This book focuses on a particular housing development in Cheltenham by Redrow Homes called Brizen Park and Brizen View. It comprises of 350+ houses on the edge of green belt, land which other housing developers were denied to build on in earlier years. The amount of affordable housing in this development is 35% a figure that remains below the 40% which is required by developers.