The Green Belt and the Role of Green Infrastructure
Green belt policy was established for compelling reasons. Today it is increasingly understood that strong mental and physical health requires access to green space.
Our primary instinct is to nurture this space, to ensure that Welwyn Hatfield maintains its rich vein of historic park landscapes and masterplanned urban environments. Given that a small proportion of green belt land must be built on to meet housing demand, however, it is even more important that what is built is done well. As the planner, Andres Duany, said, “When green space is lost we lose something of value. We must ensure that what we get in return is of equal value.” We cannot accept the sacrifice of green belt land for sprawling housing estates or other substandard development. With well-designed mixed-use communities, however, whether a new village or an extension to an existing settlement, it is possible to preserve the local character and offer better access to green space than presently exists.
Gascoyne Cecil are proposing several sites in the Local Plan. These work individually but have also been considered as part of a wider, sustainable package of responses to both housing demand and employment needs. In addition to these individual sites, we propose comprehensive strategies for green infrastructure – the creation of a recognisable green corridor.
If carefully delivered, this has the potential to ensure Welwyn Hatfield remains an attractive environment in which people aspire to live, raise their families and work in generations to come.