Councillors agree to explore new green belt

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MOVES have been made to protect countryside gaps between urban cities and towns, including Portsmouth and Fareham, as council leaders agree to investigate whether a new green belt could be introduced.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire said the green belt would safeguard the gaps between Portsmouth, Southampton, Eastleigh and Fareham, and stop them from being built on.

The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (Push) joint committee, made up of the 10 councils from the south Hampshire sub-region, met on Tuesday to hear the charity’s proposal about the adoption of a green belt.

After consideration, the committee agreed unanimously to investigate the justification and feasibility for it.

Councillor Sean Woodward, chairman of Push and the leader of Fareham Borough Council, encouraged discussion and recommended the committee looked positively at the idea.

CPRE Hampshire chief executive Charlee Bennett, who was at the meeting, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have had such a positive response.

‘The adoption of a south Hampshire green belt would maintain the integrity of the cities, prevent urban sprawl and safeguard the beautiful countryside which we consistently hear is so important to communities.

‘We are delighted that the council leaders of Push have decided to investigate the adoption of a south Hampshire green belt further.’

Charlee said although the idea has been around for years, this is the first time the topic has been given the consideration it deserves.

She added: ‘We’re looking forward to receiving the council leaders’ report and recommendations and our sincere thanks go to all those councillors who spoke in our favour. Although we’ve still got a way to go, it feels like a real step forward.’