Reimagining the greenbelt is vital to preserving it

National Federation of Builders

The Mail on Sunday report that the Treasury Chief Secretary, Liz Truss has said the Conservatives should build a million homes on the green belt, which she believes would allow the under 40s to own their own home.

Truss said that “doing more of what we have been doing for the past nine years is not going to win over modern Britain. We need to be bold.” She added: “We should allow villages to expand by four or five houses a year without having to go through the planning system, so people can afford to live locally.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) believes a more nuanced discussion about the greenbelt is required because, while it could support a million more new homes, we would be wasting chances to build on brownfield and small sites within existing communities.

Many of the NFB’s members build rurally and on small sites, yet struggle to secure planning in their communities because, when sites are allocated on green spaces, they are typically for hundreds of homes and not the tens that they usually deliver. Many sites are also identified as greenbelt, but are in fact previously developed land.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “We need to reassess where the greenbelt starts and ends, as well as exploring ways to build on green sites within existing communities. This will help provide more new rural housing and employment and promote opportunities to reconnect people with nature.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Associations (HBA), said: “Our rural communities continue to shrink as young people leave and local people struggle to afford ever increasing house prices. To preserve it successfully, we encourage politicians to reimagine the greenbelt as a tool for prosperity, not a blunt instrument to resist change.

National Federation of Builders

The National Federation of Builders is a United Kingdom trade association representing the interests of small and medium-sized building contractors in England and Wales.

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