Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, is running a brave campaign to build homes on the non-green parts of the often poorly-named Green Belt.  At a Westminster meeting in Tuesday, she risked the ire of the Labour whips by sneaking out of one of the votes on the Lords;’ amendments to the Brexit Bill to make the case for more homes.

She urged her audience not to prioritize public housing, social housing, shared housing, private housing, or any other type of housing.  What is needed, she said, is MORE housing.  She showed pictures of land in her constituency denied planning permission for new housing because it is within the “green” belt. The pictures showed not rolling fields and meadows, but abandoned factories and disused car parks, rotting eyesores that are sacrosanct because they are “green.”

What she says underlines the case that several commentators have made to reclassify land within the Green Belt so that the parts we think of as green – meadows and woods – are labelled as such, and the non-green parts are identified for what they are.  She quoted figures to show that building homes on such land within 10 minutes of a station could see 1m new homes built without significant environmental degradation.

She outlined cases of her constituents forced to live in low-quality “temporary” accommodation because the rules prevent new homes being built to house them properly.

This is an easy no-brainer. It is doubtful that NIMBYs will chain themselves to the railings of abandoned factories warehouses to thwart new house-building.  It’s a win-win for tomorrow’s would-be home-owners.  Her campaign deserves support; and the time to build is now.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. She will have to face harsher hell than even the corporate executive who tweets out praise of a new payment method at the very Christian Chick-Fil-A chain. Doesn’t she realize that “Green Belt” means “Sacred Belt” and any construction anywhere means you want children to drink polluted water?

  2. I recall a local coucncil selling some prime land that had a school on it to a developer and as part of the deal they had to build a new school….which they did on the site of a reclaimed waste tip, wasn’t a very popular move

  3. There’s a disused brickworks near where I grew up that was built with the industrial revolution, but all the planning applications to redevelop the site get knocked back or withdrawn by the developer because it’s In The Green Belt – nevermind that it’s an industrial eyesore. The local village automatically assumed that once the factory shut down the land would somehow be ploughed up as rolling meadows.

    • Indeed! So, if Britain needs bricks, shouldn’t there be brickworks? And if Britain needs something different today, say websites, shouldn’t the property be redeveloped? Who is Britain for? Britain? Or the tour operator catering to Yankee preconceptions of pristine green Britain? If people think that the property was taken out of service permanently, then is the principle behind the Green Belt that Britain has all the goods it needs and none of the land should henceforth be used to make more?

  4. I’m afraid the author doesn’t understand the nature of Nimbyism when he writes “It is doubtful that NIMBYs will chain themselves to the railings of abandoned factories warehouses to thwart new house-building”. Nimbys are not environmentalists. Nimbys are opposed to development in their backyard and simply feign environmental concerns to justify their objections. Round here nimbys fought hard to stop a derelict cable making factory in the centre of town from being redeveloped for housing. You’d think people would prefer not to live next to brick walls topped with rusty barb wire, corrugated iron fencing, broken windows and industrial chimneys but it seems they would prefer that to new housing saying new housing = more traffic, immigrants, parking issues, overcrowded schools and GP surgeries, Build it in the countryside! In Winchester nimbys rallied to stop development on a farm on the outskirts of the city. Then when the city council announced plans to redevelop some ugly town centre offices and a multi-story car park they objected to that. NO MORE HOUSES!!!!

    • You are confusing NIMBYs with BANANAS, who want to “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.” They would even oppose building houses on a rat-infested, abandoned. asbestos-littered, radioactive, raw sewage clogged ruin, because they don’t want any building at all.