Green belts and urban containment: the Merseyside experience

Bertie Dockerill, John Sturzaker

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4 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


The green belt, without question the most well-known and influential legacy of town and country planning in the UK, continues to attract interest from a wide range of interested parties–from those eager to maintain the protection it offers to the countryside, to others more concerned at the negative impacts it is argued to have on housing supply and consequently prices. In this paper we explore how the arguments for a green belt around a particular city in the UK–Liverpool–were built up over the middle years of the twentieth century, in particular through three important (sub-)regional plans. Analysis of those plans is situated within national policy and nationwide rhetoric to illustrate how perfectly justifiable arguments about the need to limit urban sprawl “baked in” resentment and opposition to much-needed housing growth. A situation which, as the final section of the paper briefly reflects upon, not only contributed to the wide-scale construction of high-rise flats in the city from the 1950s onwards, but continues to resonate today through the objections lodged against attempts to enhance the spatial footprint of the city through development on the green belt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-608
Number of pages26
JournalPlanning Perspectives
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Green belts
  • housewives’ displeasure
  • Merseyside
  • regional planning
  • social housing
  • urban containment


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