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Guildford: Brownfield pledge is good news but green belt must be part of long-term plan, says Vail Williams

By Dan Teuton
14 October 2015

Planning experts at commercial property consultancy Vail Williams have welcomed the chancellor’s plans to speed up brownfield development – but warned that suitable green belt sites must be part of any long-term solution.

James Lacey, Vail Williams partner, planning consultancy, commented: “Removing the obstacles that hold up development on brownfield land is very welcome to speed up the delivery of the residential and commercial construction the UK urgently needs.

“By creating a register of brownfield land where planning approval is assumed, the chancellor has signaled a clear commitment to get Britain building. It’s the right action to take and the right message to send.

“Making better use of brownfield land will also ease short-term pressure on the green belt, which will be welcomed by many. But we mustn’t mistake the enthusiasm and ambition behind the policy as a long-term solution.

“For a full, strategic approach we need to think about brownfield land and the green belt together, and how unlocking the right balance of appropriate sites can create development that is actually better for the economy. It’s an issue we mustn’t shy away from.”

Lacey, who is based at Vail Williams’ Guildford office, added: “To make the most of this opportunity, local decision-makers including councillors, chief executives and planning officers must be briefed and trained so that development can hit the ground running – and that includes full engagement with local businesses.

“Vail Williams’ planning and development teams are seeing strong demand for sites, and hopefully these announcements will speed up the process of bringing them to fruition.

“Action is the priority and we very much hope that the proposals set out by the chancellor in this latest round of announcements ensure that the right land is bought forward to deliver the development that’s needed.”