Local Plan Watch: Councils turn to green belt release to meet housing delivery expectations

Three local authorities with local plans either recently approved or published for consultation have proposed the release of green belt land to accommodate thousands of homes.

Guildford, Surrey (pic: Tim Sheerman Chase via Flickr)
Guildford, Surrey (pic: Tim Sheerman Chase via Flickr)

Guildford Borough Council secured an inspector’s backing for a plan which proposes three major site allocations in the green belt to accommodate a total of 5,200 homes, with further green belt land to be developed around "selected villages".

The allocations include 2,000 homes on 96 hectares at the former Wisley airfield, 1,700 homes on 89 hectares at Gosden Hill Farm, and 1,500 homes on 78 hectares at Blackhill Farm.

Main modifications including four further green belt allocations had been proposed but these were dropped after the inspector accepted the council’s argument that the Office for National Statistics’ 2016-based household projections justified a lower housing figure than initially proposed.

Meanwhile, Warrington Borough Council is consulting on a submission draft local plan that proposes the delivery of around 7,000 homes on green belt land. The council is also proposing to release around 213 hectares of green belt land for employment uses.

Site allocations include a garden suburb to the south-east of Warrington, where 4,200 homes are expected to be built on green belt land during the plan period to 2037. Other green belt allocations are proposed in the form of a 1,600-home urban extension to the south-west of the town and "incremental growth" of around 1,100 homes around outlying settlements.

Bristol City Council has embarked on a second round of consultation on its local plan, which also proposes the release of four green belt sites, before publication of a submission draft version.



Buckinghamshire: Milton Keynes adopted its local plan on 20 March. Plan:MK sets out how 26,500 homes will be delivered by 2031.

Devon: Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon Councils voted to adopt a joint local plan at separate meetings held at the end of March. The Plymouth and South West Devon Local Plan includes a target for delivery of 26,700 homes between 2014 and 2034.

Lincolnshire: Boston, South Holland and Lincolnshire Councils adopted a joint local plan on 8 March. The South East Lincolnshire Plan makes provision for the delivery of 19,425 homes between 2011 and 2036.

Suffolk: East Suffolk Council adopted the Waveney Local Plan on 20 March. The plan covers the area formerly administered by Waveney District Council and plans for 9,235 homes between 2014 and 2036.


Norfolk: Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Council is consulting on its draft local plan until 29 April. The plan proposes delivery of 11,100 homes between 2016 and 2036.


Oxfordshire: South Oxfordshire District Council has submitted its local plan for examination. The plan proposes a target of 22,775 homes to be delivered between 2011 and 2034.

Hertfordshire: St Albans District Council has submitted its local plan for examination. The plan proposes delivery of 14,608 homes between 2020 and 2036.

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