APRIL 23 2021 – “ENGLAND’S ‘HIGHLY PRIZED’ COUNTRYSIDE AREAS ARE BEING LOST TO RECKLESS DEVELOPMENT, SAY CAMPAIGNERS”

England’s ‘highly prized’ countryside areas are being lost to reckless development, say campaigners

Report from countryside charity reveals the extent of housing development in England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Some of the most precious parts of our countryside are at risk from ‘rapid and reckless housing development’, say campaigners.

A report from countryside charity CPRE, entitled Beauty still betrayed: The state of our AONBs 2021, has revealed the amount of greenfield land in England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) being developed or earmarked for development has increased by 129 per cent since 2012.

And housing pressure is also being applied to land around AONBs with the number of homes built within 500 metres of the boundary increasing by 135 per cent since 2012.  

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said: “The fact that some of our most highly prized areas of countryside are being lost to build more executive homes says a great deal about our planning system.

“Continuing with this ‘build and be damned’ approach just serves to line the pockets of greedy developers whilst undermining climate action, stalling nature’s recovery and gobbling up our most precious green space that’s vital for our health and wellbeing, all while doing next to nothing to tackle the affordable housing crisis.”

Research carried out by Glennigan Consultancy on behalf of CPRE, found since 2017/2018, an average of 1,670 homes have been approved on an average of 119 hectares of greenfield land within AONBs per year.

The south west and south east of England are under particular pressure, in these areas more than half (52 per cent) of all planning permissions for development on greenfield land in AONBs have been granted.

According to the report, developments on AONBs use up twice as much land compared to the national average for developments but only 16 per cent of the homes built in AONBs are considered affordable.

CPRE is calling on the Government to use the forthcoming Planning Bill to strengthen planning protections for green space and prevent high levels of development in AONBs.

Mr Truman said there must be a “swift change of tack from the government” putting nature and countryside communities at the heart of the Planning Bill.

He added: “Continuing to give developers more power in the planning system will only make this bad situation worse.”

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