The fact Slough is looking at how to use some of the Green Belt around the edges of the borough for land to build houses on, shouldn’t surprise anyone.
While the town had been a success story and, until the council went bust, it had had driven up numbers through a great many flats in the centre. Which is not unlike Reading and many other places.
Dense developments make a lot of sense. The retail units gain and many are designed around public transport connections.
But, children need gardens and safe space to play. And a lot of people want the sort of outdoor space of their own which a balcony facing the A4 doesn’t provide.
Slough, as much as anywhere, is bursting at the seams. Yet, land which is designated Green Belt, even though it may be far from beautiful countryside, remains a green collar, choking towns, forcing developments to go up in the air and, without doubt, increasing air pollution in tightly-confined town centre spaces.
Not far away, Bray Studios’ plans to cash in on the remarkable demand for film space, also have to convince councillors that very special circumstances exist for its plans which are also in the Green Belt.
The Green Belt is a classic example of a rule that solves one problem but causes many others. In towns like Reading, there are few places to build, without knocking down existing properties which may not be redundant.
More important than the Green Belt, is surely green spaces within centres. Places like Christchurch Meadows and King’s Meadow in Reading. Yet even those are seeing residential developments creeping up to their very edges.
Sooner or later, someone in Government will have to accept that they have to loosen the Green Belt if economic growth is really their intention.
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