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More volume house-building proposals in the Green Belt

30th May 2022

The past few months have seen a concerning increase in speculative, mass house-building proposals on Green Belt land across Hertfordshire.

Government Ministers continue to publicly state that the Green Belt must be protected from inappropriate development.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states “The Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.”

The NPPF goes on to say “Green Belt serves five purposes:

a) to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;

b) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;

c) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;

d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and

e) to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.”

Despite these statements from the government and in the NPPF, developers are pressing ahead with house building proposals on protected land. We are dismayed to see a proliferation of highly damaging, large-scale development proposals on Green Belt sites.

lovely green arable fields, hedgerows, and woodlands
1,400 dwellings are proposed for this site in the Green Belt at Tring / photo credit: Eliza Hermann

Recent months have seen planning applications for, among others:

  • 1400 dwellings on Green Belt land east of Tring in Dacorum Borough, adjacent to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which if permitted would nearly double the size of the built-up footprint of this small, historic market town;
  • 721 dwellings on Green Belt land in Chiswell Green near St Albans which, along with several other proposals still in the pre-planning stage, risk completely engulfing Chiswell Green with development on all sides;
  • 700 dwellings in Hitchin, along with 52 at St Ippolyts and 66 in Codicote, all in the Green Belt in North Herts District;
  • 300 dwellings on Green Belt land in Redbourn, St Albans District, which if permitted would be a significant urban expansion of the village;
  • 87 dwellings on Green Belt land in the small rural village of Sarratt in Three Rivers District, in beautiful open countryside in the setting of the Chilterns AONB and in the lovely Chess River valley.
lush green pasture land with sunshine and blue sky overhead
391 dwellings are proposed for this site in the Green Belt at Chiswell Green / photo credit: Keep Chiswell Green

We are analysing each proposal and submitting robust objections, based on national and local planning policies. We encourage local residents to do the same. You can read our submittals in the Resources section of our website.

And we will continue fighting to protect the Green Belt in Hertfordshire from being transformed from beautiful open countryside into an ocean of concrete.

CPRE Hertfordshire is the local countryside charity, dedicated to protecting, promoting and enhancing the Hertfordshire countryside for everyone. Our charity depends upon memberships and fundraising to continue our work – please help by joining as a member or making a donation. Any amount no matter how large or small is very much appreciated.

lush green field with yellow wildflowers in the foreground, green trees in the distance, and a blue sky with puffy white clouds overhead
78 dwellings are proposed for this site in the Green Belt at rural Sarratt, Three Rivers District Eliza Hermann
a dark sky at night with hundreds of stars visible in the milky way overhead