Time for a rethink on planning

Following the Daily Telegraph’s coverage of a speech that Nadam Zahawi MP almost made on the NPPF, I have written an article for the Telegraph website.

My main point, of course, is that the Prime Minister needs to listen to loyal backbenchers like Zahawi (there are many others) who are telling him that the Government’s planning reforms have not resulted in good quality housing that enhances places and is supported by local people, but (all too often) in bog standard developments plonked down on the most profitable greenfield sites.    

In the article I say: “The Government’s fear is that changing course will lead to a fall in house building, making it even harder for young people to find a decent home.  This is a legitimate concern.  The country desperately needs more homes, including affordable homes in rural areas.

 

“The challenge is to get good quality, well-designed houses where they are needed, with as little loss of countryside or damage to existing places as possible.  What we are seeing now is the worst of both worlds: too few houses built; too much damage done.

 

“Solving the country’s housing crisis will require measures that go way beyond the planning system.  But a few relatively simple changes to planning policy can ensure better quality homes in the right places, without resulting in fewer homes being built.”

 

These steps include a clear brownfield-first policy; a real commitment to sustainable development where a local authority does not have an up to date plan; and a more realistic calculation of housing numbers.  At the moment, and without serious reform of the housing market and public investment in house building, the housing targets are purely aspirational.  No one believes they will be achieved. 

 

The targets will not result in more homes being built, just in more greenfield land being allocated, allowing developers to cherry pick the most profitable sites and leave derelict the sites most in need of regeneration.  It is extraordinary that a Government generally so sceptical about top-down targets is so committed to them in the case of house building. 

 

The full article can be found here

 

Will the Government listen to the many backbenchers who now want reform of the NPPF?  Today’s Telegraph Leader and the article by Isabel Hardman are not encouraging.  Public pressure will also be necessary.  If you have not yet done so, please support CPRE’s Charter to save our countryside.

 

 

2 Responses to “Time for a rethink on planning”


  1. 1 Gary Card January 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    The following measures will go a long way to protect what reamins of our cherished countryside:

    1. Deport the many thousands who reside here illegally
    2. Renovate and bring back into circulation the thousands of empty/derelict homes and focus on urban regeneration. Make our towns and cities pleasant & safe places to live in.
    3. Prioritise brownfield (previously developed) land for new development
    4. Close the immigration door firmly shut (this will necessistate leaving the undemocratic EU so that we can exert full control of our own borders).

    The obvious (but ignored, probably due to Political Correctness) ‘elephant in the room’ is an evironmentally unsustainable population growth encouraged by the open immigration policies of successive pro-EU Labour and Conservative governments.

    http://resistancetoantidemocraticleft.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/why-an-open-immigration-policy-is-incompatible-with-environmental-protection/

  2. 2 Gary Card January 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I live in the village of Cranleigh in Surrey, which is a stone’s throw away from the scenic Surrey North Downs and Surrey Hills. Like many rural communities across Britain, Cranleigh is threatened with greenfield development (despite the fact that there are nearby brownfield sites available, such as Dunsfold Park). My home borders a very biodiverse greenfield site (deciduous oak scrubland) which, despite its ‘Countryside Beyond the Greenbelt’ designation, is teeming with wildlife: roe deer, foxes, pipistrelle bats (according to the Bat Conservation Trust, all UK bat species are protected by domestic and international legislation), tawny owls, Eurasian jays, pheasants, blu tits, sparrowhawks, lesser-sopotted woodpeckers, and cuckoos. The prospect of such biodiverse (wildlife-rich) greenfield being destroyed for the sake of development sickens me to the stomach. In fact, it depresses me so much that I’m having trouble sleeping at night.

    The following measures will go a long way to protect what remains of our cherished countryside:

    Restore our population to an environmentally sustainable level:

    Deport the many thousands who reside here illegally (I’m referring to illegal immigrants). Halt or restrict all further immigration: close the immigration door firmly shut (this will necessistate leaving the undemocratic EU so that we can exert full control of our own borders). Adopt voluntary repatriation schemes & provide financial incentives for immigrants who wish to return to their homelands.

    The government must adopt an environmentally harmonious planning policy:

    Renovate and bring back into circulation the thousands of empty/derelict homes and focus on urban regeneration. Make our towns and cities pleasant & safe places to live in.
    Prioritise brownfield (previously developed) land for new development. Convert unused commercial buildings into residentail dwellings.

    The obvious (but ignored, probably due to Political Correctness) ‘elephant in the room’ is an evironmentally unsustainable population growth encouraged by the open immigration policies of successive pro-EU Labour and Conservative governments. Environmentally unsustainble population growth (driven by the government’s/EU’s open borders immigration policy), the government’s endless drive for economic growth (or growth for growth’s sake) and environmentally unsound planning policies (Cameron, Eric Pickles and Nick Boles need to take note) are major threats to our diminishing countryside. Economic growth & consumerism should not come at the expense of our countryside.

    I am not supporting or endorsing any particular political party or cause, but these articles make for interesting reading. Please read them and make up your own mind:

    http://resistancetoantidemocraticleft.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/why-an-open-immigration-policy-is-incompatible-with-environmental-protection/

    http://britishdemocraticparty.org/government-to-facilitate-environmental-destruction-for-cash/

    http://britishdemocraticparty.org/immigration-biggest-threat-to-environment-bar-none/


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