Thursday, September 28, 2023

Major study urges development on green belt

ON the day that the Planning Inspectorate review all planning proposals on Thurrocks green belt over the next decade, a report by an international organisation of industrialised states has identified England’s green belts as a ‘major obstacle’ to development that should be replaced.

The study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), says that the response of housing supply to demand in the UK has been “one of the lowest among OECD countries over the last 20 years” reports

“Making the land-use planning system more flexible, more predictable and more responsive to market signals, without compromising its social and environmental objectives, is essential,” the report says.

The OECD study says that, in England, green belts “constitute a major obstacle to development around cities, where housing is often needed”.

It adds: “Replacing green belts with land-use restrictions that better reflect environmental designations would free up land for housing, while preserving the environment.”

The report also says that it remains to be seen whether the New Homes Bonus – an incentive through which the Government will match the council tax raised on each new home built for six years – “will be sufficient to generate numbers of planning permissions compatible with increasing demand”.

It adds that, following the coalition’s removal of the regional tier of planning, “ensuring the continuity of strategic planning of infrastructure and public services” is crucial.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “On the housing market, the OECD survey identifies the planning system as a major obstacle to the construction of new homes and a more stable housing market.

“They support our abolition of the top-down system that has failed.

“But they also point out that we should do more to make sure housing supply keeps up with demand, for example by making the land-use system more flexible and providing even better incentives for local communities to allow development.

“I very much agree.”


  1. I first came to Thurrock as a kid in the late sixties after living in East Ham and I remember thinking it was ‘in the country.’ Slowly but surely the countryside was gobbled up by one development after another until now the borough feels more urban than rural. There have been some good things, I count Lakeside as a big plus, but I think that much of the charm that used to exist here has been developed away. We don’t have many green spaces left so I think it has to be right that they remain protected. After all, quality of life is much more valuable than quantity of life isn’t it? Don’t we all know that, once the current rules are changed, the green belt will be available for all comers and our borough will be submerged in concrete and brick and our quality of life will go under with it? Will the Powers That Be have a care for the people that already live in Thurrock and make every effort to protect our green spaces? I fear not. I fear big business and the uncaring caress of big money will win the day and the current residents of Thurrock be damned.

  2. I share gray64’s sentiment. My family have lived in Thurrock since 1642 and we can trace our history through local records and the history maps the change from Agriculture to Heavy Industry / Light and the collapse in the late 70’s / 80’s and then suburbia rising culminating in the new millennium Housing Boom.
    Green Belt is worth saving. I became a Chair of a Forum because of the flippancy surrounding various planning moves and the daft comments by Council consultants in 2008. Time to fight this. I love London and I have fond memories of the City but I live in Thurrock because I can have river walks and hit the Green in Bulphan / Orsett. I believed Unitary Thurrock would strike a balance how sadly wrong I was. NO TO BUILDING on GREEN BELT

  3. I also agree with gray64, except I hate Lakeside. It has killed most of the local shops, and caused terrible traffic problems. I prefer to travel to Basildon to shop and pay to park.
    How about a decent Park & Ride system for Lakeside?


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