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Eversheds comment: Green belt here to stay as planners seek right balance in boundary modernisation

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    Commenting on news that the number of homes planned for UK green belt land is increasing, Stuart Andrews, partner and planning expert at Eversheds, says:

    "The common misconception is that all green belt land is green and serves a meaningful function in separating settlements. The reality is quite different. Those sat in their car on the M25 that glance at the swathes of open, undeveloped and often despoiled land within the gyratory might be surprised to discover that much of it is protected as green belt.

    "The burning issue for many cities that are restrained by green belt and that have to find housing land, is whether to breach the barrier or to concentrate more development within these limits. This is reflected in the recent work of the Outer London Commission who have started to contemplate ‘suburban intensification’ as one of the potential solutions. Whilst it might not be as tangible as the erosion of the green belt, the reality of this option would undoubtedly be less appealing to the electorate than the urbanisation of under-utilised and indistinct land at the edge of Hounslow.

    "As with everything in planning, it is a matter of balance. We can, however, be confident that the green belt is here to stay even if its 60 year old boundaries are gradually going through a process of reassessment and modernisation."



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