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Peter Murray


Passions run high on all sides in discussions about the future of the Green Belt, but this often produces more heat than light. This London Society Debate: A Better Green Belt? Making the Green Belt fit for the 21st Century brought together five speakers with differing views to give their opinions on what, if anything, should be done: Richard Knox Johnston, London Green Belt Council; Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive U+I plc; Merrick Denton-Thompson, the Landscape Institute; John Myers, London YIMBY and Alice Roberts of the CPRE. Paul Finch of Architects’ Journal chaired the discussion, and Saul Collyns reports.

Paul Finch of architects' journalThe green belt tends to provoke passionate debate amongst Londoners, and this was no less true at the London Society debate. Nevertheless, ever keen to move discussions forward (London Society played an instrumental role advocating for its creation in the 1930s), this event aimed to move beyond binary discussions with speakers characterised as ‘for’ or ‘against’, to explore how it can be made fit for the 21st century.

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Peter Murray

img_1051-1Passions run high on all sides in discussions about the future of the Green Belt, but what, if anything, should be done? 

The Green Belt that has wrapped around London since the 1930s was created due, in large part, to the advocacy of the London Society, so we’re again taking the lead by debating how we can make this 20th Century solution for restricting the capital’s growth meet the challenges of the 21st. How could the Green Belt be improved to help the environment and better facilitate new housing?

Previous debates have tended to generate more heat than light, with speakers characterised as “for” or “against” the Green Belt. This London Society event will present a range of views and see if there are any approaches that can satisfy all parties. Speakers will present their thoughts and then be questioned by the Chair and by the audience.

Join us on 4 May for what is sure to be a lively, stimulating and interesting discussion. Tickets are now on sale here 

Speakers include:

  • Richard Knox Johnston, London Green Belt Council
  • Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive U+I plc
  • John Myers, London YIMBY
  • Alice Roberts, CPRE
  • Merrick Denton-Thompson, the Landscape Institute

Chaired by Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects’ Journal

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Peter Murray


Arguing that the green belt’s “preservation myth” needs to be dispelled, this London Society report by Jonathan Manns suggests it’s time to re-evaluate the ‘politically toxic’ subject and that brave politicians should accept that new development will be required on some of London’s ‘Green Girdle’.

You can read the report on screen below, or to download the full PDF use the button below:


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