Over the border: More houses built on Epping’s Green Belt than anywhere else
Politics / Sat 30th Jun 2018 am30 11:09am
A higher proportion of houses were built on the district’s Green Belt than anywhere else in the country last year.
In 2016/2017, 43 per cent of the new homes built in Epping Forest were on Green Belt land, data from the Ministry of Communities, Housing & Local Government data shows.
While this is two per cent more than second place South Staffordshire Council, Epping Forest does have a higher proportion of land on the Green Belt than all but Tanbridge District Council.
Only seven per cent of the district’s land is not Green Belt.
A spokesperson for the Epping Forest District Council said: “As the dataset suggests, Epping Forest District is one of a small number of councils that are almost entirely Green Belt.
“The Green Belt is extremely important to us and our planning policies are heavily geared towards its protection, which is in line with national policy.
“However, previously developed sites and other sustainable sites within the Green Belt do come up from time to time.
“With so much demand for new homes and so little space outside the Green Belt, it is important to take a sensible approach to these sites when the opportunities arise.
Going forward, the emerging Local Plan is proposing further Green Belt releases, including sites around Harlow which form part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.”
In recent months numerous planning applications requesting permission to build on the Green Belt have been received by Epping Forest District Council.
These include previously rejected proposals for an 105 apartment retirement complex on Froghall Lane in Chigwell, which could lose its Green Belt status due to a build proposed in the council’s Local Plan.
The Next Plc distribution warehouse near Waltham Abbey and a 690 home development in North Weald would also be on Green Belt if approved.
The district council’s approach is generally inline with the draft National Planning Policy Framework which recommends previously-developed land or that well-served by public transport is given “first consideration”.
The draft Framework also allows brownfield land in the green belt to be used for affordable housing.
In 2016-17, 4 per cent of all new homes in the UK were built on green belt, up from two per cent the previous year.
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