Government Planning Minister Claims Planning Laws are sending UK housing back to the 19th Century
Planning Minister Nick Boles has stirred up a real hornets’ nest by claiming that local authorities that save green fields instead of building residential properties are irresponsible, and building new homes must be prioritised above preserving fields.
Nick Boles argued that homes create more human happiness than fields, whilst revealing the Government is determined to speed up the rate of residential house building, despite strong opposition.
Mr. Boles slammed local authorities in an interview with the Daily Mail stating:”Deeply irresponsible councils and communities that refuse to co-operate with the government’s expansion plans will risk losing their hospitals and high street shops as their populations shrink. I understand that rural campaigners are very worried when green-field land is replaced by the sheer ugliness and soullessness of housing estates. However, current planning laws are sending Britain back to the 19th century when only the well-off could afford their own home. The sum of human happiness that is created by the houses that are being built is vastly greater than the economic, social and environmental value of a field that was growing wheat or rape.”
There was furious retaliation by environmental campaigners who claim that the planning minster’s reforms would cause further sprawl in the countryside.
Greenfield land in Mr. Boles’ own Grantham constituency has already been earmarked for a massive 7,000 residential property development.
Defending the plans Mr. Boles said, “The only way we will get to hang on to the services we want to have, the local hospital, the only way he’ll get M&S back and get a John Lewis at some future point, is if the population of the town grows.”
The Government planning minister also revealed controversial new planning rules will soon be introduced, including existing home owners being bribed with compensation if new development causes their house price to fall and bullying developers into building more beautiful residential properties rather than soulless, identikit rabbit hutches.
Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the new plans could hinder both rural and urban areas, stating:”Housing can make people happier than fields but that doesn’t mean it is necessary to spoil fields to produce the new houses that we need. All this is the antithesis of good planning. You get transport on inappropriate roads. You suck the life out of high streets, empty inner cities and create further sprawl as you drive people out of towns to go shopping because Nick Boles has converted town centre shops to residential use.”
It is widely reported that the UK faces a 300,000 residential property shortfall and there is a desperate need for the provision of more housing stock but if the government planning minister’s ideas are given the go ahead it could mean an end to “England’s Green and Pleasant” landscape as we know it, as towns and cities expand into rural areas, rapidly diminishing the environmental resources that make our nation so unique.
If the Government were to re-think this strategy and utilise all the empty spaces that currently exist within all UK towns and cities before having to resort to the use of green field land, it may prove more costly but surely it is a much better way to protect our country’s own natural beauty and the planning minister already knows it.
But of course this will cost the taxpayer more and not provide funds for the government’s coffers, so of no obvious interest to those in power. I for one would prefer my taxes to be used for preserving our national heritage and I am keen to avoid contributing to the demise of our beautiful countryside. We, as property owners are already penalised for having an empty rental property by local authorities despite the fact that we are not using any local authority or state services, but we still have to pay, this is tantamount to explotation yet the practice is legal. There are many areas within the current urban sprawl that are crying out for development or restoration but taking action requires finances that the government and many local authorities just dont have. Why not use the collected funds from landlords with empty rental properties and use them to purchase vacant urban plots within local boundaries and develop them…
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