Birmingham growth strategy offers opportunities for landowners

Midlands | Property & Construction
Paul Barton

Burton Knowles’ town planner Paul Barton believes that a recent report into new growth around Birmingham’s Green Belt would be of great interest to landowners in surrounding areas.

Barton believes that the GL Hearn and Wood’s report is very detailed and will have to be taken into account by local planning authorities.

This offers landowners within identified areas the potential to promote their Green Belt land –  which many stakeholders had thought would never be developed.

Speaking on the plan, Barton said: “The report identified avenues of land for potential new growth and new settlements within the Green Belt surrounding Birmingham, following identified growth points such as road or rail links.

“The city is contained by the Green Belt, providing no room for any expansion. Given the current housing crisis, it is clear new homes have to go somewhere.

“The areas identified are large swathes of Green Belt and whilst not all of the land will be released, it will prove difficult for LPAs to ignore a report, which helpfully assists where demand could be accommodated.”

Barton said the UK’s remaining Green Belt – which still amounts to some 1.6m hectares – could come under increasing pressure over the next few years.

He added: “The Green Belt has been incredibly successful in restricting urban sprawl for more than 50 years. This has contributed to the growth of commuter settlements outside of the Green Belt and has helped increase commuting distances as people ‘hop’ the Green Belt to get to work.

“This conflict between unsustainable commuting and restricting urban sprawl is a difficult position which Local Planning Authorities have got to grapple with.

“We believe it is likely we will need to build more homes within its boundaries if councils are to fulfill the housing quotas they have been given.

“There is clearly a conflict between sustainable development and Green Belt Policy, and Local Authorities attempt to balance this by undertaking thorough Green Belt reviews, looking at the quality and location of land within the Green Belt and decide what, if any, land should be released.”

GL Hearn and Wood’s report will form part of the evidence base for local planning authorities to determine where housing and employment could go, and astute landowners should identify if their land is within areas for possible growth, and make the necessary representations.

Bruton Knowles supports local authorities undertaking this difficult work and can assist landowners’ attempts to secure potential growth.

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