District planners focus housing ambitions on green belt

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 25 Nov 2015

Epping Forest officesPlanners for an Essex district authority are considering releasing some green belt land to tackle rising housing demand. 

Epping Forest District Council assistant director of governance for development control Nigel Richardson told Planning: “We are 90 per cent green belt as an authority and the area has small towns on the edge of London.

“The main driver for planning is housing but we are way behind on adopting a new local plan. We haven't agreed a housing figure but the housing needs assessment is for about 11,000 homes by 2033.

“But we haven't factored in all our local constraints to come up with a final target and imagine we will have to release some green-belt land to bring forward that housing because we are struggling to provide homes on a large scale in our built-up areas.”

The council is looking to recruit a senior planning officer in development control to deal with applications from house extensions to large, complex developments.

Duties will include writing reports and making recommendations on the more complex planning applications and appeals.

Richardson said design appreciation and knowledge of green-belt policies of restraint were desirable skills.

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