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Uncertainty over planning grey areas is fuelling the housing crisis in the UK with 60% unable to correctly define the Green Belt and a third believe building on green field is prohibited in all cases. The research from planning consultancy Iceni Projects, also reveals that nearly 90% of the population have no knowledge of, or do not understand, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Iceni is calling on the property industry and government to raise awareness of planning legislation and housing policies after new research shows a mammoth lack of knowledge amongst the general population on key planning issues. ‘Our research shows that there is a fundamental lack of understanding on key issues of planning policy, such as a misunderstanding that Green Belt must always be green,’ said Andrew Gale, director at Iceni Projects. ‘In addition, three quarters of respondents know little or nothing about housing policy in their local area. This is having a major impact on the industry’s ability to delivery much-needed housing and commercial space,’ he explained. Iceni’s survey found that over half the population oppose building on Green Belt, even though a significant group, 60%, do not even know what Green Belt is. ‘It is a grey area across communities in the UK, and we believe these serious misconceptions are a barrier to investment and growth. If the industry is to make any headway in narrowing the housing gap and delivering the facilities required to keep the UK a competitive economy, we need to take urgent action to educate and inform the public,’ said Gale. ‘We are therefore urging the government and industry to follow suit and ensure important decisions on new developments are made on the basis of a clear understanding of planning terminology,’ he added. The firm says that action is clearly wanted by the public with 68% of respondents supporting steps to make it easier for people to get involved in the planning process and 77% saying they do not know how to get involved in the planning process. The research also found that 60% of the population believe the Green Belt is not built on, where in reality much of the Green Belt already has buildings on it and there is huge confusion over whether the Green Belt is green with a 30% saying it is a type of green field, where in fact the Green Belt is not necessarily even ‘green’. Some 86% of respondents do not know how much of the UK’s surface is urban, with 58% overestimating and 27% saying they do not know, when in fact only 7% is urban, according to data from the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, 2012. Continue reading →
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