PROPERTY developer Andrew Mason has called for a “grown up” debate about the future of the green belt.

He says land protected under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act should not be “set in aspic” and the scope of the green belt should potentially be reviewed to reflect the needs of modern society - particularly the need for affordable housing.

Mr Mason said not all green belt areas satisfied the requirements of providing open access to countryside and other benefits.

The developer, whose company Newmason Properties converted Victoria Mills in Shipley into an award-winning residential complex, said he was not advocating a widespread reduction in green belt areas but wanted serious debate about some potential development.

He said: “It’s time we moved away from an adversarial approach to planning and have some grown up discussions about how we treat the green belt going forward. Unless we are prepared to think more flexibly about how our approach to some green belt land we’re going to be in a pickle. It’s time for developers, planning specialists and residents to involve in a serious open debate

“I remain a strong believer of developing on brownfield sites wherever possible and much of my own work has involved creating homes by regenerating old buildings.

“But the Green Belt was created under catch all legislation back in 1947, which was in a different age. I would be in favour of protecting some areas forever but we should discuss using some green belt land where no suitable alternative is available.”

The former Bradford Property Forum chairman was speaking after the Government backed plans for 400 homes in Micklethwaite Local was backed by the Government.