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Today programme/National Trust.

(17 Posts)
jangly Tue 26-Jul-11 11:27:37

They had a spokesperson from the NT on Today this morning who was saying how local governments are being pressed to letting planning applications for business premises go through, just to help speed up economic recovery.

I find this really worrying. Not everyone can easily get out to the protected areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I think our own bits of local countryside can be very important to us. We all need somewhere local we can get to to walk, or just sit and watch the world go by. When you travel about this country you already see how towns have sprawled.

Surely, economic recovery doesn't have to be the be-all and end-all. There are other things in life beside the financial stuff. Once that countryside is gone, its gone for good. We need this countryside saved.

goldengirl Tue 26-Jul-11 12:04:56

It isn't just business premises. I've just completed a questionnaire [aka consultation document from our Borough Council hmm about the need to increase affordable housing. There were 5 choices and 2-5 included infiltrating on Green Belt land; 'just a bit' apparently, but how long before 'just a bit' becomes 'just a bit more'? I've just been listening to a Radio 4 programme on sparrows and their numbers are reducing because of the lack of hedgerows which has resulted in fewer insects. Anyway there are loads of vacant business premises around, certainly in my area - so why build more?

JessM Tue 26-Jul-11 12:13:18

I think with the government's "localism" ideas about having to have a local referendum about development we will see a major lack of building land in the next few years and the countryside will be fairly safe. It is difficult though - i live in a new house that was built on farmland, like the rest of this new city. Of course i don't welcome the further expansion of the city, because I like walking out of my front door and being in the countryside in 5 minutes. But unless we are prepared to knock down low density housing in order to replace with high density homes, where are people going to live? It is really hard to strike a balance.

jangly Tue 26-Jul-11 12:44:54

The item is here news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9548000/9548464.stm.

Its well worth a listen.

JessM Tue 26-Jul-11 13:07:26

Yup I heard the man say that we "shouldn't cover the country in aspic" which was an interesting turn of phrase. Conjured up a pic of woods and fields covered in a layer of savoury jelly. smile

grannyactivist Tue 26-Jul-11 23:01:21

Yes, JessM This is what I wrote at the time of the announcement:

Did anybody else take notice of planning related announcements in last week’s Budget?
'All planning bodies will be expected to prioritise jobs and growth,' said George Osborne. 'Cumbersome planning laws stand in the way of new jobs,' he added. 'We will introduce a new presumption in favour of development so that the default answer is 'yes'.'

Check out Greg Clark's Ministerial Statement: Planning for Growth - Corporate - Department for Communities and Local Government

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has heavily criticised the proposals, they say, 'This could mean developers building what they like, where they like, and when they like. It’s a policy that finally buries genuine localism.'

The Chief executive of the British Property Federation, Liz Peace, had a much warmer response: 'The Government has indicated its intention to introduce a presumption in favour of sustainable development as part of the National Planning Policy Framework. However, it must not be hedged around with so many restrictions as to be meaningless in practice. It is right that planning should prevent urban sprawl but the designation as green belt should not mean ruling out any development, the green belt should be an additional hurdle, not an insuperable barrier,’ she added.

The CPRE's response: “The Chancellor’s default ‘yes to development’ threatens both the environment and sound planning. The proposed land auctions are hugely risky and have failed to get backing from developers, local government or campaigners. In this context, his reassurances on protection of the Green Belt are nothing more than a fig leaf.” angry

grannyactivist Tue 26-Jul-11 23:02:09

Oops, sorry, meant jangly. confused

JessM Tue 26-Jul-11 23:08:47

They seem to want to have it both ways don't they. A NIMBY charter on the one hand and a free for all, promoting growth on the other... Eric Pickles does not impress as sec of state in charge of this one. Very much the reverse. Are they beginning to realise that "localism" is not a particularly useful mantra if you want to get anything done?

grannyactivist Tue 26-Jul-11 23:37:04

Agreed JessM. I think local communities often are much more savvy than politicians give credit for.

JessM Wed 27-Jul-11 15:14:22

Well - mmm... not quite my point. A year or so ago they were banging on about giving local people a chance to have a referendum about planning. And expecting some crazy percentage to agree before anything could be done. Which is the opposite of a development free for all.
You do see a lot of not-here ism in rural areas, my DH cynically pointed out that people in villages don't want more houses because it will affect their property prices. (and there is something in this surely - around here houses in villages go for a lot more...)
There has to be some scope for development and new homes - and the present planning system is not bad. If it is changed in either direction - and i am not sure which direction the govt are going to jump, it will quite likely be worse than what we have now. I live in a very carefully and lovingly planned place and it works. There are other examples - model villages etc. High levels of planner input usually has good results. You only have to look at countries where land is cheap and planning lackadaisical to see the difference.
One of the sad things is the push to develop the south east while many areas of the countries have lots of land and lots of unemployment.... but little development.

jangly Tue 06-Sep-11 08:34:42

I find it sad that there are more posts on the subject of "churching" of women - a thing which is now part of history only - and so few responses to this subject.

If you don't care about this, what on earth do you care about?

Supernan did broach the subject in another thread, but, again, had practically no response.

sad

absentgrana Tue 06-Sep-11 09:37:57

jangly I suspect the lack of response is that this is quite a difficult subject to comment on. The waters are further muddied by misleading statistics from those with vested interests. Probably most of us agree that more affordable homes need to be built but may have a range of opinions on what type of homes and where. I don't know enough about Green Belt land, brownfield sites and unprotected greenfield sites or where homes are most needed (apart from London and the South-east). I don't know what is being done to refurbish and modernise already existing properties to make them good homes, how much this costs and whether it is worth doing. Ignorance doesn't usually prevent me from holding forth on a subject but I feel very much out of my depth with this one.

absentgrana Tue 06-Sep-11 09:49:58

Mind you, having just said all that, I do feel very suspicious about this government's version of a new Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land.

jangly Tue 06-Sep-11 10:38:17

All I need to know is that local authorities are going to have to be more accommodating to planning applications, and I do not believe for one moment the green belt will be protected.

Brown field sites can be those little bits of green space that are nothing remarkable in themselves but so important to local people when they can't easily get to the countryside proper.

Regarding housing, I think what Princess Anne said might have had a lot of truth in it. (that people shouldn't expect a house per person through divorce)

I'm undecided on that point tbh.

Sook Tue 06-Sep-11 11:31:52

Our lovely market town is now surrounded by an explosion of little boxes all made from ticky tacky (as the song went). Further intrusions into the local countryside are planned. I have attended meetings have written along with many others to the planning department expressing my disaproval.

Everybody it seems wants to live in the countryside..........Trouble is when they achieve this they set about making changes to turn our villages into mini towns.

I agree we need more affordable homes but lets set about refurbishing and restoring what we have in inner cities and towns before we destroy our Green and Pleasant land forever.

jangly Tue 06-Sep-11 11:40:39

I agree Sook.

Sounds like you're doing your bit anyway.

Why do they need so many office blocks. Half of them stay empty. hmm

Annobel Tue 06-Sep-11 12:16:17

Twelve or more years ago, when I was a councillor in a NW local authority, we had an application for a new office block which was approved, though many of us asked why it was needed. It is still largely empty! So I take it that the perceived need for more business premises must be in the south east where the need for more homes must also be perceived. There are estimated to be around 750,000 unoccupied houses in England, most of them in private ownership. If measures could be taken to ensure maximum occupation, then the housing crisis would be closer to a solution, but such action is far beyond the reach of local authorities and needs government legislation and possibly taxation measures. And whatever happened to brown field sites?