Cllr Woodward's ambitions to resolve Green Belt in 1-2 years
Jan 21, 2019 —
Following release of our report into the effectiveness of current policies used to protect South Hampshire's green space and stop urban sprawl, Cllr Woodward has made a public statement about his ambitions for protecting the South Hampshire countryside.
The report highlighted the limited value of the Strategic Gaps in protecting the countryside and our green spaces suggesting that these measures are not enough to maintain the integrity of our urban areas or protect our vital green spaces.
Our Chief Executive, Charlee Bennett feels the report has given even more support for the campaign. ‘It has been previously argued by Local Authorities in South Hampshire that the Gaps provided adequate safeguards. However, the report has highlighted the vulnerability of these areas as the ‘Gap’ status seems to offer limited protection, citing many examples within South Hampshire when the development has gone ahead in these areas, nibbling away at the Gaps, with some now being only metres wide. These green spaces are so vital to the health and wellbeing of our residents and the only way to properly ensure we can protect our precious countryside within law is by the adoption of a Green Belt.’
The report concluded that a strong case could be made for this area of South Hampshire meeting the ‘exceptional circumstances’ required when looking to adopt a Green Belt. It suggested that in a national context, this area of South Hampshire was somewhat unique in not having Green Belt status, with most other similar large urban areas in the country, where cities at risk of merging are maintained and protected by Green Belt.
After we shared the report with the PUSH Council Leaders, Cllr Woodward, Chair of PUSH, issued this press statement: ‘I would love to have a Green Belt in Hampshire and I agree that Strategic Gaps don’t work. I would love to see this resolved in the next one to two years and it is something that we are working towards at the moment.’
The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) committee, made up of council leaders and decision makers will have ultimate say in whether we would take the next steps in designating areas of South Hampshire as Green Belt.
Ms Bennett said: ‘This report has given us a real boost and additional evidence for our campaign for a South Hampshire Green Belt. Gaps are not working to protect these vital green spaces and if we are genuinely committed to the health and wellbeing of South Hampshire’s residents, we need more effective measures to ensure their preservation. The facts support it, the public support it, and many of our council leaders and decision makers support it. We hope that this report will add to the body of evidence in favour of the Green Belt and will help our decision makers move decisively to protect our invaluable green spaces for us all to share and enjoy for generations to come.’
We still have a way to go and we will need your help again. Time is critical as Winchester, Test Valley and Fareham, three essential Local Authorities, are reviewing their Local Plans now. They could designate new Green Belt during this process.
We hope that our efforts, combined with Cllr Woodward's ambitions to push Green Belt forward will see South Hampshire's countryside protected in the very near future.
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