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Published by jack elliot

 it's worth remembering why landuse planning was introduced in the first place. The Town & Country Planning Act of 1947 was the product of lobbying by the CPRE (then the Council for the Preservation of Rural England). Set up by architects among others, CPRE campaigned for comprehensive landuse planning to counter the unrestrained ribbon development along major roads that was disfiguring the countryside and increasing traffic on major roads into towns and cities, and so degrading the quality of life in urban areas. CPRE became a strong advocate of better urban planning, on the premise that if cities were made more inhabitable, there would be less pressure on the countryside.

Thanks to Covid-19 we appear to be at an historic turning point, when the advantages of rural life are rediscovered by the urban middle classes. If this leads to an even marginal exodus from the cities, we may not need more city building, but we will need to be very attentive to the quality and density of what we have and build if cities are not to become (even more than now) sinks of poverty and desperation. The other side of the coin is planning to preserve or enhance the liveability of towns and villages outside the major cities.

Developers always argue that existing infrastructure can cope with whatever increment of traffic or population that new building stimulates. But they always complain that it is too expensive for them to provide it and that, if forced to pay, they will build less.

Likewise building quality standards. Already  some of the worst housing in England - small, ill-insulated, poorly ventilated and lit and ruinously energy-inefficient. Will this government do anything to ensure these standards are raised??? Builders always explain that house-buyers will not pay anything extra for higher standards, so they build worse and worse and at ever higher densities.

And the infrastructure? Sensible planning requires that development proposals are considered in tandem with the necessary infrastructure of roads, cycle paths, schools, amenity green space. These things can't be tacked on as an afterthought after the developer has had / his her unimpeded way.

Planning is not a needless impediment to development; it is a necessary condition of a decent quality of life.

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