Here at CCB we always love to hear from our readers and when Paul Stevens, Chair of Arborfield Village Hall Management Committee, contacted us we were interested to read his opinions and happy to share it with a wider audience. Take a look and if you agree why not get involved by signing Paul’s petition.
Why Reading needs a Green Belt
Reading has some of the highest property prices in the country, making it a prime target for property developers. If we allow this to continue unchecked the resultant urban sprawl is threatening to create one vast housing estate covering most of Berkshire. The idea behind a “Green Belt” is to create a buffer between towns. As pressure for housing increases so does the need to keep some separation between settlements. Yes, we need housing, but do we still need as much office, car parking and shopping space in this increasingly online world? Instead of constantly building on our dwindling green space would it not be better to re-purpose some of our existing urban space? Put simply, use our brownfield sites for housing, not greenfield sites?
If we grew more of our own food rather than importing it we could significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Green spaces, whether being worked for food or simply enjoyed for leisure are a vital part of addressing many of societies current health and mental well-being issues. Our countryside provides a place to escape the stresses of modern life where people can breathe fresh air, get some outdoor exercise and enjoy nature, as well as delivering fresh, locally produced food. Cutting down on emissions from transport and encouraging biodiversity we can start to make a positive difference to the global Climate Emergency.
Reading has ambitions to become a City in 2022. Surely the small towns, villages and communities that surround Reading are a large part of the unique heritage that makes Reading deserving of City status? England’s 14 Green Belts cover more than a tenth (12.4%) of land in the country, and provide a breath of fresh air for 30 million people. Green Belts help prevent urban sprawl, and protect our countryside from encroachment, but did you know they’re home to 19% of all traffic free cycle routes and 34% of Community Forest land? We need more cycle routes and we need more trees, particularly around the proposed “City of Reading”. This is a unique chance to leave a lasting legacy.
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Contributed by; Paul Stevens
*In the interests of remaining neutral opinions in this article are Paul’s alone and do not represent Connecting Communities in Berkshire’s as an independent charity.*