A new grouping of organisations across the Chilterns has come together to protect the Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which are under threat from an unprecedented housing tidal wave. There is currently an assessed need for 135,000 new dwellings in the Chilterns, with eight out of ten local authorities in the Chilterns identifying a need to build on the Green Belt with some small incursions into the AONB. A recent workshop co-hosted by the Chiltern Society and the Buckinghamshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was also attended by representatives of the London Green Belt Council, the Chilterns Conservation Board, CPRE National Office and CPRE Branches from Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
The shared messages of the respective organisations are as follows:
- Government and Local Authorities need to make a long term commitment to protect the Green Belt and AONB, ensuring action and not just empty words.
- Realistic housing targets that account for Green Belt and AONB designations are required based on real local need not aspirational market demand.
- A clearer, more restricted, definition of ‘exceptional circumstances ’is needed for Green Belt releases and AONB developments and assurance that housing need does not override Green Belt and AONB designations. There should also be less opportunity for local government to interpret the NPPF to suit their agenda.
The team of organisations will be lobbying MPs in the Chilterns for support and will continue to work closely together to protect the best interests of the Chiltern countryside.
Watch closely for further details about the team’s planned activities!