Letter: Price of Green Belt

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is no doubt that the development of "brown land", including underused or empty property, should be encouraged ("How to save the green grass of home", 14 January). It not only reduces encroachment into the Green Belts, but enables the existing urban infrastructure to be used to its maximum potential, avoiding the costs of new schools, roads, clinics and so on.

Also, unreliable public transport, together with increasing social and financial costs of car use, may lead to greater demand for urban living, as evidenced by the conversion of redundant commercial buildings in many city centres.

There should certainly be a review of VAT to encourage the better use of our urban fabric to meet housing need. It should cover not only construction costs but also those of associated architectural services, so that imaginative solutions can be encouraged.


Vice President Practice, Royal Institute of British Architects

Rocester, Staffordshire