As the Queens speech today brings in the government’s stated intentions to encourage the building of an extra 3 million homes we find all manner of folk crawling out of the suburban under growth to defend the status quo.
They will, hell or high water, defend pavlova paradise. That place where little Johnny goes to a ‘good’ school, big sister does Brownies and ballet and where Dad gives the Mondeo a good rub down on the driveway every weekend. Meanwhile Mum has time to gulp down the finest of new world wines with a little Tesco’s salad for lunch most week days and do her little bit for her local charity in the afternoons before the school run. It couldn’t be better than this could it; pavlova paradise, soft (familiar), chewy (indescribable) and very sweet (inoffensive).
Now that soft chewy sweetness is under threat. The bulldozers are coming and they in suburbia don’t like it. Under threat is the greenbelt , that protector of birdsong, broccoli, river side walks and house prices. Yes, the greenbelt throws up a whole potpourri of emotions and images.
Lawson Fairbank: Your Guide to Green Belt Land
Today Radio4’s You and Yours allowed the masses from suburbia their 15 seconds of fame. And how they howled and stamped their feet with indignation that anyone could possibly think of building more houses like theirs. That other people may want what they have already got.
The greenbelt policy was finally enshrined in an act of parliament in 1938. That link also shows arguements for greenbelt preservation.
Approved Green Belts, based on Structure Plans and Local Plans , Sept 1993, total 1,555,700 hectares, as outlined roughly within the map above.
A Royal Town Planning Institute study carried out with Manchester University found the drive for suburban sprawl has a detremental effect on commuter behaviour. The commuter belt as it is known disrupts family life with more time spent in the car than with the kids and increases energy use.
Clearly, as the National Trust smugly says (as a significant owner and protector of greenbelt land) a debate must be had. Now, what shall we do about all those second homes? First time non-buyers you go first ….