The government have announced changes to planning legislation to relax the planning rules applying to green belt land. Between 2010 and 2015 we built on 41,570 hectares (103,000 acres of green belt land; in this period the number of houses built on the green belt has increased from 2,258 to 11,977, according to figures from the House of Commons Library.
The government is torn between protecting the green belt and delivering new homes to tackle the housing crisis. The largest majority of new homes will be delivered around Manchester, where there are plans submitted for 50,000 new homes. The head of policy at the Town and Country Planning Association, Hugh Ellis said: “What happened was we stopped building the new towns but have kept the green belt….it is no surprise we have a housing crisis.” In this vane, the Local Government Unit released survey results showing that 58% of local politicians are in agreement that we will need to allocate protected land for housing.
The changes to permitted development rights will allow for agricultural buildings to be converted to homes, it will increase the limit of three per farm to five. The new rules allow for up to three large homes or five small homes (no larger than 100 square meters) within a site of 465 square meters.
The CLA (Civil Legal Advice, representing landowners) believe that these changes will “reinvigorate rural communities and help to build a stronger, more sustainable countryside.” They believe despite these changes to planning rules local authorities are still refusing too many applications. Tony Breitmeyer presidents of CLA stated: “We will continue to work with Government and local authorities to promote the positive impact of these types of conversions”.