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.
The 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.