Richard Knox-Johnston, Chair of the London Green Belt Council, wrote to the London Evening Standard:
“Further to the report A garden of one’s own, Tom Papworth is misguided in his thinking on the Green Belt.
“First, we already have excellent high density housing of 100 homes per hectare in London which is not high rise. They are the Georgian and Edwardian squares in Kensington and Chelsea which are very popular places to live. So not all dwellings have to be skyscrapers. Second, building on Green Belt land would provide expensive homes because they are built in the Green Belt, so would not assist in reducing house prices. Third, the brownfield sites are being used but properties are not being built quickly enough. Fourth, the Green Belt encourages inner city regeneration and much of central London is in urgent need of regeneration. Fifthly, Mr Papworth mentions ‘nasty scrubby pieces of land serving no purpose’. He must be unaware of the trick used by land bankers – buying land, deliberately allowing it to deteriorate in order to get planning permission.
“The Green Belt was instigated to stop urban sprawl and to encourage inner city regeneration. It is important to ensure this role continues. We would welcome an open debate with the Adam Smith Institute in order to put the case for the Green Belt.”