Housing White Paper poses new threat to Green Belt says Chiltern Society

The Green Belt in the Chilterns is under even greater threat of development if the next Government adopts proposals outlined in the latest White Paper on housing, says the environmental group the Chiltern Society.

“Eighty per cent of councils in the Chilterns are considering building thousands of homes in Green Belt because there simply isn’t anywhere else to build them if they are to comply with existing rules on calculating housing requirements,” said society trustee Paul Mason.

“The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to calculating future housing numbers clearly doesn’t work in places like the Chilterns where there are large areas of Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

“The White Paper makes no attempt to solve the problem. In fact, it may make matters even worse because a proposed change to the wording of national planning policy would seem, in our view, to positively direct councils to release Green Belt for development once other options have been explored, “ he said.

The Society, with more than 7,000 members in the Chilterns, intends to seek the views and support of general election candidates throughout Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire on the issue.

Mr Mason added: “When assessing future housing the next Government needs to allow for flexibility. It is essential that housing targets in areas constrained by AONB and Green Belt should be lower to give meaningful and effective protection to these areas. The Chilterns, a vital green lung for London and the south east, will suffer irreversible damage if a tidal wave of new housing in permitted.”