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Green Belt new home building levels halve in 20 years

New research from Countrywide reveals the homes built on the Green Belt surrounding towns and cities over the last 20 years has halved.  

Countrywide Research estimates that since 1995 some 96,000 new homes have been built on the Green Belt. This equates to around 3.5 per cent of the 2.7 million homes built in England between 1995 and 2014.

The number of new homes built on the Green Belt each year has halved since the early 2000s, falling from a peak of 6,700 homes in 2001 to 3,248 in 2014.


The trend started before the downturn. Despite a 36 per cent rise in the number of homes built in England between 2001 and 2007, the numbers built on the Green Belt fell by 46 per cent. 

Last year just 3,250 homes - that’s 3.0 per cent of all homes - were built in the Green Belt, down on 2013 and on the long run average.

“While development is generally prohibited within the Green Belt, a small number of homes are given permission to be built” explains Johnny Morris, Countrywide’s new Group Research Director. 

“Many of these development sites would be at odds with common perceptions of Green Belt.  Rather than picturesque countryside being concreted over, these sites were either brownfield, infill schemes or unused land with little amenity value” says Morris.

“Sustained pressure, particularly in the south [of England] to get more homes built and government plans to take a tougher line on local authorities with out of date plans, will likely see more homes built on Green Belt in future years” he says.  

Just returning to the rates of development on Green Belt seen in the early noughties would yield an extra 5,000 new homes a year, claims Countrywide.


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