Ongoing debate about policies surrounding development on greenbelt land are set to cause uncertainty for landowners well into the future, according to the West Midlands’ leading agricultural lawyer.
Steven Corfield, Principal Development Partner for Agricultural Business at Shropshire law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, said the 70-year-old planning policy brought in to prevent urban sprawl is under increasing pressure as the demand for new homes mounts.
The Government’s planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework states that new building should be considered “inappropriate” for the greenbelt although there are some exceptions such as for farm buildings and limited infill in villages.
Steven said: “At various times the greenbelt policy has been criticised for reducing the amount of land available for building houses and therefore resulting in higher house prices. There has been equal criticism of attempts to water down the greenbelt policy over many years.”
Steven said although the Prime Minister’s office has declared that protecting the greenbelt is “paramount” and ministers attach great importance to maintaining the policy, something has to give.
“For many years there have been examples where the outer boundaries of greenbelts have been moved further out to extend over other land so as to release former inner greenbelt for development.
“Effectively there has been some urban sprawl and those landowners further out have been made subject to the imposition of replacement greenbelt. It’s unlikely this was ever the intention of the original policy.
Steven added: “I am sure that in the future the greenbelt issue will be subject to increasing debate and concern for those living in or beside greenbelt land or involved with its potential for the future.”
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