Residential development in greenbelt halved in the last decade
New research reveals the homes built on the Greenbelt surrounding our towns and cities over the last 20 years has halved. Since 1995, Countrywide Research estimates 96,000 new homes have been built on the Greenbelt. This equates to around 3.5% of the 2.7 million homes built in England between 1995 and 2014.
The number of new homes built on the Greenbelt each year has halved since the early 2000s, falling from a peak of 6,700 homes in 2001 to 3,248 in 2014.The trend started before the downturn. Despite a 36% rise in the number of homes built in England between 2001 and 2007, the numbers built on the Greenbelt fell by 46%. Last year just 3,250 homes (3% of all homes) were built in the Greenbelt, down on 2013 and the long run average.
Over the last 5 years development on Greenbelt has increasingly been on land surrounding growing cities in Southern England – reflecting the demand for housing and a wider trend of new home delivery concentrated in the South of England. In 2014 the 1,575 new homes built on the London Greenbelt, accounted for 48% of all Greenbelt development in England, up from 38% a decade ago.
Local authorities can grant permission for development in the greenbelt in special circumstances where the benefit from development outweighs perceived harm to the local area. While there is debate, and conflicting guidance about specifics, generally these may include significant economic benefits, replacing buildings and in some instances housing or other social need.