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Eversheds comment: London “consuming its own smoke” places Green Belt land in future risk – but safe for now

  • United Kingdom

    24-02-2015

    Commenting on the recommendation there should be a review of green belt rules to ease the London housing crisis Stuart Andrews, head of planning at law firm Eversheds, says:

    “The London Mayor has committed to an annual housing requirement of 42,000 units per annum for ten years as part of the London Plan alterations. This provision has been made in the face of pressure from the London Boroughs for some 80,000 units within the same period.

    “The Mayor's decision is one of an attempt to strike a political balance and is a commitment to London consuming its own smoke; to avoiding urban sprawl; and one of complete resistance to any form of regional planning in the South East.

    “The impact of this decision is that London will need to build denser and higher residential accommodation and there will be an inevitable pressure on London Boroughs to release Green Belt land. This was their reasoning for pushing for greater numbers, as this would inevitably displace that challenge to a non-London centric solution.

    “Whilst there must now be increased pressure on Green Belt land releases, it is unlikely the Mayor or the London Boroughs will immediately press for development in these locations. Indeed, the Mayor is very much of the view that with higher density development the land is already available to meet the identified commitment.

    “In this context, we will be a long time waiting for a review of the Green Belt rules to ease the pressure on London housing provision.”

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