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Ruth Reed: 'Greenbelt is not sacrosanct'

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RIBA president elect warns ‘careful decisions’ need to be made about the future of the countryside

Ruth Reed, RIBA president elect, has claimed that the green belt is ‘not completely sacrosanct’ and warned that ‘careful decisions’ need to be made about its future.

Reed, who beat Andrew Hanson in the race to succeed Sunand Prasad as next year’s RIBA president, said there were not enough brownfield sites in the UK to enable the government to achieve its housing target of three million new homes by 2020.

‘We are in an interesting position here in England,’ said Reed. 'Only 10 per cent of our land is urbanised; we have got to think very carefully how we release more land for development.

‘People are extremely protective of the countryside but we have to think where it is sustainable to develop. If the land is in the green belt we have to make some very careful decisions,’ she added.

Speaking to NBS Learning Channel, Reed also claimed that there was a ‘lack of skill in the planning sector’ as experienced local authority planners are snapped up by the more lucrative private sector.

Reed said it was a knowledge gap that should be filled by a self-certificating scheme led by architects: ‘For smaller schemes planning should be divulged to architects. Planning authorities would still carry out third-party checks, but the ultimate responsibility should lie with the architect.’

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