Call for new towns on Green Belt

 

A A A

Ministers should allow new towns to be built on Green Belt land around the edge of cities to deal with Britain's housing crisis, a think-tank with close links to David Cameron recommends today.

In a controversial report Policy Exchange claims that the green belt is having negative effects on the economy and quality of life.

It refutes the idea that there are enough brown field sites to cope with future housing needs adding that much green belt land is not of any great natural beauty and failure to build on it is having a negative effect on the economy.

“We would not lose if the more brown parts of the green belt become attractive suburbs like Fulham, Richmond, Clifton in Bristol or Didsbury in Manchester bringing with them a wave of green public space and parks,” the report concludes.

“Green belts will hold back our cities, reducing their ability to both regenerate and grow. If we cannot build on green belts we simply build on other green field sites or destroy urban green space.”

The report, Cities for Growth, by what has often been dubbed Mr Cameron’s favourite think tank is on this occasion unlikely to be welcomed by ministers.

They are embroiled in a bitter dispute with groups such as the National Trust and the Council for the Protection of Rural England over more modest proposals to open up the planning system for more development.

Critics are likely to seize on its recommendations as evidence that parts of the Government secretly wants to go much further than the current system allows and scrap the highly symbolic concept of the green belt altogether.

But report’s author argues that the green belt planning restrictions which date back to 1935 are out of date.

“Green belt should be redesignated, with the attractive parts of the 33 per cent that is not either intensive farming or already developed becoming part of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty," it says.

“The problem with the green belt policy at present is that it ignores land quality, so if we are to allow some development in the green belt then we need to protect the more attractive areas that exist within it.”

But the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England described the report’s ideas as “wrongheaded and unpopular”.

The campaign's spokesman Jack Neill-Hall said: “I hope this report fall of deaf ears in Government because public opinion is overwhelmingly against it.

“The Green belt has helped protect against urban sprawl and the encouraged the regeneration of town and city centres.

“The last thing we need is more dormitory downs where people need a car to get anywhere and which don’t have proper services.”

But Policy Exchange argues that the government’s housing plans will not produce enough new, good quality homes in places people actually want to live and point out that between 2001-2008, nearly 1million people migrated away from urban areas due to the cost and quality of housing.

It adds that if the UK is going to compete with Asia we need to attract new workers, especially young people to live in close proximity to cities.

Alex Morton, author of the report, said: “Building new garden cities sounds radical. But we have successful examples in the UK, from the original garden cities to new towns like Milton Keynes and major planned developments like Docklands and the Olympic site.

“There are significant advantages in concentrating a lot of development in one place, allowing proper planning for infrastructure, and allowing us to create green and pleasant places to live.”

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little