I strongly believe that our fields, woodlands and countryside should be protected against excessive development. These are special areas of our country that we have a right to enjoy and pass on to future generations.
At the same, I recognise that more homes need to be delivered to meet the demands of our increasing population. The previous Labour Government did little to address the housing shortage and left this country with the lowest levels of housebuilding since the 1920’s. This Government, in contrast, has delivered over 700,000 homes in the last 6 years, and priority is now being given to the development of brownfield sites. Latest statistics show that the level of Green Belt development is at its lowest rate since modern records began in 1989.
However, it is also important that sites with existing planning permission are built out. Under-delivery creates uncertainty for communities and discourages young families from staying in the area. One proposal to address under-delivery is to release further land following a Housing Delivery Test. This would ensure that where developers don’t deliver, councils and local people can work together to deliver the homes that their area needs.
The Government is considering all views on this matter and will respond to the consultation on the proposals in due course.