RIBA calls for a review of ‘unloved’ Green Belt to help solve the housing crisis
3rd July 2014
A new report published by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Building a Better Britain, says there is an urgent requirement by the next UK Government to evaluate the Green Belt, enabling communities to unlock the housing and growth potential of what it calls ‘wasted land’.
RIBA says to tackle the UK housing crisis, 300,000 new homes per annum will need to be constructed in the foreseeable future and it is recommending a proportion could be built on Green Belt land.
The report recognises a requirement to build a new mixture of new homes and says sustainable brownfield land, in towns and cities where infrastructure is already in place, should be developed.
The next Government must incentivise and provide greater support to Local Authorities so that more brownfield, which is often expensive and takes time to make fit for redevelopment, can be recycled for housing and economic development.
With the right approach and guidance from Central Government, local authorities, RIBA is suggesting through the income generated from the sale of Green Belt land, could develop ‘unloved’, low-value parts of the Green Belt as a method to unlock brownfield sites that are proving stubborn to access.
RIBA said “A Government-led review, using methods to assess the environmental and local amenity value of the Green Belt, needs to take place; this should be used to help compile an evidence base to support Local Authorities in making decisions about their Green Belt.”
In some parts of the country, the Green Belt is failing to prevent urban containment and is no longer serving its purpose. Development has simply stepped over and into areas of genuine countryside. Where this is the case, there is often a lack of appreciation for the Green Belt by the local community and it could be better served to provide new houses and open spaces.
RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: “The next UK Government should empower our cities, towns and villages to prosper and provide the homes, education, services and jobs that are vital for the nation; it needs to look at architecture and the built environment as part of the solution. Reform of the green belt and building more new homes, must be priorities.”
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