News report about the green belt in Calderdale
On the 24th February, Sky News were reporting on the most recent CPRE ‘State of the Green Belt’ report. This report shows that the number of houses planned for development on land that was formally green belt has increased fourfold over the past 8 years.
A feature of this Sky News report was the plans for Calderdale. Calderdale Council carried out a review of green belt in 2017 and concluded that some green belt could be released for development. One of these areas is in Greetland.
Lyndsey Ashton is a campaigner defending the green belt against the proposed development in Greetland with the support of CPRE. She established the Greetland Pressure Group which now has well over 1000 supporters. Lyndsey was interviewed by Sky News about the proposals in Greetland and beyond, and she did a great job in in highlighting the concerns of the local community and CPRE campaigners. Greetland is an area of green belt that Barratt Homes wishes to develop. It was removed from the site allocations plan for Calderdale due to a Flood Risk Assessment, but has since been included again.
The countryside protected by green belt plays a range of important roles, both environmental and social and is not a renewable commodity. The draft Calderdale Local Plan has identified a need for new housing, but much of this is based on also increasing net migration to the area, and is not to supply an existing housing need.
The pandemic has put a great deal of assumptions about the need for new development under scrutiny. It has highlighted the need for good quality, accessible outdoor spaces. It has helped us to re-imagine our ways of working, shopping, and our work-life balance. It is time that our Local Plans reflect our hopes for a better future, rather than to rely on patterns from the past to inform development. CPRE research shows developments on former green belt land on average have fewer affordable homes and fewer homes per acre.
Involving the community in these plans is really important, and part of our democratic process. The government, councils, developers and local communities need to find a way of working together to find good outcomes for society and the environment. As Lyndsey says: We need a more inclusive, holistic, compassionate and intelligent way of operating.
The next stage of the Calderdale Local Plan hearing is due to take place this summer. CPRE West Yorkshire are working closely with a range of community groups to champion for better outcomes in Calderdale.