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Amount of protected open space lost in Greater London doubles in one year

Figures released this week confirm London campaigners’ fears, as protected land the size of over 40 football pitches is lost to development in one year

Figures for loss of open space loss in Greater London were published this week in the London Plan Annual Monitoring Report 12 for 2014/15. [1]

• A total of 26 protected sites were given planning permission to be built on in 2014/15, of which 18 had the highest level of protection (13 Green Belt, 5 Metropolitan Open Land). The remaining 8 sites were Other Designated Protection which has a lower level of protection.

• In the 8 years from 2005/6 to 2012/13, an average of 4 applications per year were given planning permission to build on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land. This leapt to 15 in 2013/14 and has risen again in 2014/15 to 18.

• The total amount of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land lost doubled from 2013/14 to 2014/15, with 29 hectares (or the equivalent of over 40 football pitches) being lost in 2014/15 (up from 14 hectares in 2013/14).

Last week CPRE London published its report The Strongest Protection which identified over 50 protected green spaces in Greater London – including parks, recreation grounds and sports fields – which are under threat from development. [2]

Alice Roberts of CPRE London said. “These figures confirms our fears. We predicted that that the sharp rise in numbers of applications in 2013/14 was a trend that would continue – and we expect the numbers to rise even further in future as developers get wind that it’s basically open season on protected land in London.” [3]

“We need politicians to stop just saying that they want to protect Green Belt - we want their commitment to extend to Metropolitan Open Land - and for their commitments to be carried through. Too often planning permissions are being granted regardless of the political commitments being made. “Very clear signals are needed from the new Mayor of London – to say ‘There will be no building on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land on my watch’ – to halt the spiralling number of applications coming forward.” [4]   Notes to editors


2) CPRE London’s recent report The “Strongest Protection?” Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in London: the real story can be found here

3) Page 22 of the report explains why the permitting of development on protected land creates the wrong signals and leads to a spiralling problem: “When land protections are not adhered to, landowners see that previously valueless land might now be sold with planning permission at a higher price; developers see prime plots of land…”

4) CPRE London’s full manifesto What we want to hear from the new Mayor of London can be found here

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