Too many homes in new Green Heart plans

The government is planning to build too many new homes in the rural central part of the country known as the Green Heart, says environmental group Milieudefensie.

A report drawn up for the group by Rigo Research says a total of 35,700 houses are to be built in the region by 2020, nearly 10,000 more than necessary. Government planning rules state that new homes should only be built in the Green Heart for the local population. With the population set to grow by some 20,000 households over the next 15 years, the Rigo survey says only 28,000 new homes need to be built. That is 20% fewer than in the current plans. In addition, the report criticises the type of houses being built. Councils are keen to develop detached homes outside villages, for example, but there is increasing demand for smaller houses close to the centre so that elderly people can have easier access to the shops. Some 60% of the demand for new housing was likely to come from people aged over 65, the report said.
Milieudefensie said the building plans were ‘absurd’. This area has a special status which is meant to protect its uniqueness, said campaigner Willem Verhaak. ‘We should be building less.’ The Green Heart contains some of the Netherlands’s oldest villages and early polder landscapes. MPs are due to debate the national planning memorandum next Wednesday.

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