Initial exploration of the green belt. The study challenges the preconception that when entering protected areas of land you find yourself lost in beautiful countryside. The name Green Belt implies nature. The reality is quite different.
The initial purpose of the green belt as set out in the Town and County Planning Act of 1947 was to; check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas, to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another, to prevent encroachment on the countryside, to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns and to encourage urban regeneration through redevelopment of derelict and other urban land.
In creating the green belt the benefits of access to open countryside and recreational facilities are secondary to the primary functions or the area.
As a result within the green belt you find anomalies, in fact a the green belt is made mostly of these anomalies. Spaces notionally have no right to be part of the green belt. Car parks, Landfill Sites and parts of village infrastructure that all inhabit the green belt.
Conversely spaces that typically you would consider to be green belt, either imbedded within the protected area or directly adjacent to it are un categorised and are classed by planning officers as ‘white space’.
The people who live near these white spaces will typically think the land is protected, not in the knowledge that the land is ripe for development.