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Slight green belt changes made to London Plan

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_68997331

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has relaxed the green belt directions in the London Plan following a direction issued by housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

Khan’s initial ‘intend to publish’ version of the plan, which was sent to Jenrick in December of 2019, said development that would harm the green belt and metropolitan open land should be refused.

In March 2020, Jenrick asked Khan to soften this stance by adding the clause “except where very special circumstances exist”. In letters exchanged in December, Jenrick issued a

Policy G2 London’s green belt now reads:

A. The green belt should be protected from inappropriate development:

1) development proposals that would harm the green belt should be refused except where very special circumstances exist.
2) subject to national planning policy tests, the enhancement of the green belt to provide appropriate multifunctional beneficial uses for Londoners should be supported.

B. Exceptional circumstances are required to justify either the extension or de-designation of the green belt through the preparation or review of a local plan.

further direction on the green belt, explaining that it was a “modest amendment to my previous direction which will provide boroughs in the difficult position of facing the release of green belt or Metropolitan Open Land with a greater freedom to consider the use of industrial land in order to meet housing needs”.

Policy G3, which is about Metropolitan Open Land, states that such land "should be protected from inappropriate development in accordance with national planning policy tests that apply to the green belt. Khan has deleted the instruction that development proposals for this land should be refused.

Alterations to Metropolitan Open Land should be undertaken during the local plan process and boundaries should only be changed in exceptional circumstances.

This publication version of the plan provides for the delivery of 522,870 new homes, as recommended by the Planning Inspectorate recommended in 2019.

Jenrick has six weeks to consider this version of the London Plan, from the date on which Khan let him know he intended to publish the plan.

The mayor’s letter and the London Plan can be found here on the Greater London Authority website.

Read more:

Jenrick and Khan exchange letters over London Plan

Jenrick orders London mayor not to publish London Plan

Khan stands firm on fracking policy in the London Plan

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