According to new figures, the number of homes that have been granted planning permission on greenbelt land has doubled in the past year.
In the financial year from 2013/2014 just 5,607 new homes were given planning permission on greenbelt land but that figure jumped to nearly 12,000 new homes in 2014/2015.
The figures are likely to cause much debate and be received both positively and with concern from different parties. Environmental campaigners believe the green belt is vital to protecting the British Countryside and it was first brought in as a measure to stop neighbouring towns merging together and control urban sprawl.
Economists and business leaders argue that housing is needed to aid economic growth and that the UK currently needs 250,000 new homes to be built each year to keep up with growing demand. The UK has 14 different greenbelt areas which combined cover a total of 13 per cent of the land. Some critics claim only a small amount of this land is needed to solve the housing crisis for future generations.
CRL recently conducted a poll on the issue, asking our newsletter subscribers, including developers, architects, social housing groups and self builders which measures would most help to solve the housing shortage. Building on Green Belt land was a popular suggestion with over 50% of respondents believing that a relaxation in the rules would be beneficial.
Despite the large rise in greenbelt homes in the last year the current Government policy still takes the position that any building on the greenbelt should only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances. It seems that despite this stance, the power given to local authorities to decide the future of their own local greenbelt with the right to democratically decide the right location for local developments is allowing more greenbelt building to go ahead.
Some local authorities who are under pressure to supply more suitable housing in their area, feel they have no option but to approve more greenbelt builds due to a lack of other suitable land.