Sadiq Khan reaffirms pledge to protect Green Belt in London

City Hall has again criticised Enfield Council’s draft Local Plan while the mayor says his views haven’t changed

Vicarage Farm in World's End, where Enfield Council wants to allocated 3,000 new homes, and (inset) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Vicarage Farm in World’s End and (inset) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has reaffirmed his commitment to protecting the capital’s Green Belt – while City Hall has again criticised plans by Enfield Council to build nearly 10,000 homes on it.

Khan included a policy to protect London’s Green Belt in his 2021 London Plan document and also in his two election manifestos in 2016 and 2021, but omitted any mention of it for his 2024 campaign.

With London’s housing pressures growing and with Labour Party leader Keir Starmer himself discussing the need to re-evaluate the Green Belt, which he describes as more of a “grey belt” in many places, there had been growing speculation of a U-turn by Khan.

But the mayor reaffirmed his commitment when challenged at Mayor’s Question Time this week by Alessandro Georgiou, the leader of the Conservative group in Enfield who also became a London Assembly earlier this month.

Khan said he remained “committed to a brownfield first approach” and that he hadn’t seen the “detail” of the new approach to the Green Belt which Starmer has been advocating. He also said the existing London Plan continues to reflect “my views in relation to the Green Belt”.

Georgiou told Khan that “although it was unexpected, I remain reassured by that answer”.

The exchange at City Hall has also been backed up by a recently-published response from the Greater London Authority to the latest version of Enfield Council’s draft Local Plan.

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In its official response to the statutory consultation on the plan, which proposes de-designating part of the borough’s Green Belt to allow nearly 10,000 homes to be built on it, Lucinda Turner, the GLA’s assistant director of planning, states: “The two largest areas proposed for Green Belt release are at Chase Park and Crews Hill; both in order to deliver new housing development. However, the justification for releasing these sites has not been set out fully within the ELP [Enfield Local Plan].

“Releasing Green Belt requires demonstration of exceptional circumstances and once all brownfield options have been exhausted. This would include optimising housing densities within urban areas using design led approaches, particularly around existing transport infrastructure and maximising delivery from small sites.

“Even if exceptional circumstances could be demonstrated to justify the proposed release of Green Belt, there remain serious concerns over the suitability of the specific selected sites at Chase Park and Crews Hill. This is primarily around the ability of these sites to deliver the infrastructure needed for sustainable transport, the high levels of harm that releasing these sites would have on the function of the Green Belt and the low density of housing proposed.

“The mayor considers that the proposed changes to the Green Belt as currently set out are not in general conformity with Policy G2 of the LP2021 [London Plan].”

The final, statutory consultation on the draft Local Plan ended on Monday (20th). It will now be examined, later this year, by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

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