Local Plan Watch: Authorities grapple with green belt release

Warrington Borough Council's local plan review consultation is the latest to propose large-scale releases from the green belt in order to meet development needs.

Green belt: a group of councils have set out plans to release protected land to meet development needs
Green belt: a group of councils have set out plans to release protected land to meet development needs

The council’s preferred development option document, which began consultation on 18 July, says land for 9,000 homes will need to be found in the green belt, as only 15,000 of its 24,000-home projected need up to 2037 can be found from the existing urban area.

The consultation follows a warning by countryside lobby group the Campaign to Protect Rural England that 425,000 homes are now planned in the green belt, a 54 per cent increase from March 2016.

Latest official figures show that the net area of the green belt in England shrank by just over 1,000 hectares in 2015/16 - a smaller reduction than in 2014/15, when more than 2,100 hectares were lost (see infographic).

Earlier this month Cheshire East Council’s plan, which proposes release of green belt sites to help meet housing need, was found sound by an inspector. And over the past month, Oxford City Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, the Black Country authorities and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have also highlighted the need for potential green belt releases.

By contrast, Northumberland Council withdrew its core strategy from examination after the new leadership of the authority decided to review the need for green belt releases.

Local Plan Updates

EXAMINATION NEWS

North West: Cheshire East Council’s local plan has been found sound by a planning inspector. In his report on the plan, published on 20 June, inspector Stephen Pratt found that, subject to modifications, the plan was sound and could proceed to adoption.

South East: The Local Plan for Swale Borough Council was inspected and approved on 20 June 2017. Inspector Sue Turner’s report found that provided modifications were made the plan would provide an appropriate basis for the planning of the borough.

South West: The local plan for Exmoor was inspected and approved on 15 June 2017. Inspector Roger Clews’s report found that, provided modifications were made, the plan would provide an appropriate basis for the planning of the National Park.

South East: The local plan for Canterbury City Council was inspected and approved on 15 June 2017. Inspector Mike Moore’s report found that, provided modifications were made, the plan would provide an appropriate basis for the planning of the city.

PLAN SUBMITTED

South East: The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead published its submission local plan on 30 June 2017. Consultation on the proposed submission draft runs until 25 August.

PLANS PUBLISHED

North West: Warrington Borough Council’s preferred development option document started public consultation on 18 July, after it was approved by the council’s executive board.

South East: Oxford City Council’s local plan 2036 preferred options document was published on 30 June. The document is subject to public consultation until 25 August.


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