"Nationally, 460,000 houses being planned for land that will be released from the Green Belt, while the percentage of ‘affordable’ homes built continues to fall"
The Green Belt remains under severe pressure in England, despite government commitments to its protection, according to a new report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) (Summer 2018).
Map showing the West Midlands Green Belt
(from Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and DCLG).
What is the "Green Belt"?
Modern Green Belts were established in 1955 to prevent urban sprawl and to stop towns and cities from joining up.
Green Belt land is supposed to be permanently protected through strict regulation "unless there are exceptional circumstances". However, building on Green Belt does still go ahead. There are constant threats all over the country to Green Belts, including (2018) two threats in Shropshire.
About 10% of Shropshire is in the West Midlands Green Belt (see map above); this is one of 14 separate areas of Green Belt covering 13% of England (6,000+ miles2); mostly open land and countryside around the largest/most historic towns and cities.
Shropshire’s Green Belt includes all the county south of the A5 and east of Telford, Bridgnorth and Highley.
Threats to the Shropshire Green Belt
A Green Belt Review is underway, the sole purpose of which is to justify releasing for development land that is currently protected by Green Belt status. It is expected to be published by the end of November 2018. This may well determine the fate of Tong, the historic little village near Shifnal threatened to be swamped by the mooted Garden Village complex around it.
Another current threat is in the far south-east corner of the county, at Shipley. Seisdon Quarry, some two miles across the border in Staffordshire, is about to close and the operator wants to open up a new quarry at Shipley, hard up against ancient woodland. Shropshire currently doesn't need the proposed sand and gravel (it has enough reserves elsewhere). The Woodland Trust says no development should happen within at least 100m of the wood; Natural England's standing advice is for a 50m buffer; the applicant proposes only 15m. Regrettably, Shropshire Council’s relevant Planning Committee has recently allowed the application to go ahead.
The NPPF is meant to restrict development in the Green Belt, and around Ancient Woodlands. CPRE Shropshire is monitoring developments.
West Midlands Green Belt
West Midlands Land Area: 231,291 hectares (14% of total green belt land and 1.7% of the total land area of England). Here is a link to the West Midlands Green Belt factsheet produced by CPRE National Office.