Friday 24th January 2020

Revisiting the Green Belt.


Vinita Dhume - Levitt Bernstein

Alan Benson - London Borough of Haringey

Venue: RICS, Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AD

Time; 7.45 - 10.15am


The government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence. Assessing the impact of a proposal on the openness of the Green Belt, where it is relevant to do so, requires a judgment based on the circumstances of the case. Come and join us as for our first RCN event of 2020 and our first to take place on a Friday as our expert panel discuss:

  • What is the policy and what is the guidance?

  • Is the green belt still seen as a sacred cow?

  • Are the original aims of the green belt now redundant?

  • Should we be redefining what is classed as green belt?

  • Are we doing enough to redevelop brownfield sites?

  • Do we need to develop a regional vision and planning approach to meet long term development goals.?



Vinita Dhume
Levitt Bernstein

Vinita Dhume is an associate director and urban designer at Levitt Bernstein. Before joining the Practice in 2007, Vinita worked on numerous regeneration and public realm projects in South Africa, including the 2030 Growth Plan of Cape Town. She has since developed several large scale residential-led masterplanning schemes that have led to the creation of vibrant new neighbourhoods across the UK. This experience means she is adept at engaging with both stakeholders and local communities throughout the design process.


She is currently leading several projects in the south east and the preparation of a community-led masterplan for Rochdale. She is also a member of design review panels for Merton, Richmond, Sutton, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth.


In collaboration with LSE, she has been researching the opportunities afforded by a strategic review of the green belt, with a particular focus on the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor (LSCC).

Alan Benson
London Borough of Haringey

Alan Benson has been working in government - central, local and regional - since 1987, mainly in housing and corporate strategy. He was responsible for housing strategy and performance management at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. From 2004 Alan Benson was responsible for housing policy at the Greater London Authority, providing advice and support to the Mayor's Office on housing issues.


He managed the GLA's Housing Policy Unit, which lead on housing-related policy development and research for the GLA, including producing the statutory London Housing Strategy.


Alan has been Head of Housing at the London Borough of Haringey since December 2016. He leads on all the Council’s work on Housing Policy, driving new housing delivery and tackling homelessness, as well as being “client side” for its ALMO.