Reviewing the Green Belt (Press Release)

22 July 2014

In an article in the latest “Visions” Chairman Peter Thompson says: “Green Belts have mostly been very effective in achieving what they were set up for, but there are downsides too:
• They haven’t stopped the sprawl of many towns and villages and they haven’t protected all cherished countryside;
• The sanctity of the Green Belt creates pressure to develop all urban green spaces because Green Belt policy ignores them;
• Homes are separated from workplaces, increasing commuting and traffic on our already congested roads;
• Housing becomes harder to find and less affordable.

“The Oxford Green Belt was created in 1955. It cannot be right to claim that this 60-year old policy should never be reviewed to see if it is still appropriate for today and the next 60 years. How Green Belt policy will meet the challenges of the future at least needs looking at.

“To protect our environment, including our landscape and countryside, and to make that protection even stronger, we MUST have the very best planning. We also need good planning to ensure our communities old and new are as successful as they can be. Fighting a rear-guard action against all development and trying to enforce historic constraints while muddling along with the fragmented, dysfunctional planning we have now won’t produce a successful future for the Oxford region.

“We need a higher level of debate about planning issues like the Green Belt, and real leadership to achieve ‘smart growth’ if we are to deliver the future we want to see for our children and grandchildren.”

You can read a text-only version of the full “Visions” article here.

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