Expert calls for alternatives to green belt

Partner and experienced urban planner Robin Shepherd from national planning and design practice Barton Willmore
Partner and experienced urban planner Robin Shepherd from national planning and design practice Barton Willmore
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PROPOSALS for a green belt to restrict building in south Hampshire should be carefully considered to ensure they do not adversely affect prosperity in the region, a leading planning expert has warned.

Robin Shepherd, of planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, said proposals by the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire to prevent development around the region’s core cities should be examined with future economic growth in mind.

Robin, a planning and design specialist, said that instead of considering a blanket ban on housebuilding, authorities should work together on long-term strategic plans for well-planned development, linked to infrastructure provision.

He said: ‘Green belts are the oldest piece of planning legislation, and when they were first introduced they were linked to growth.

‘Over the years, the link between growth and development and planning has not been communicated effectively enough to communities, so they just call for a stop, and the green belt is the tool used by politicians in response to anti-development sentiment.

‘A better solution would be to work with residents and the business community to prepare controlled, well-planned developments for the long term, providing the infrastructure with it, that we so desperately need.’

He added: ‘A green belt is a blunt instrument that restricts economic growth. I would strongly urge PUSH to look at alternatives.’