I’ve been giving some thought to the mooted change in planning policy that threatens a relaxation of planning laws in relation to building on green field sites.
I posted a couple of weeks ago about the National Trust petition opposing the new planning policy framework and looking for more information came across the Daily Telegraph’s Hands Off Our Land campaign which provides a useful summary & a news feed for anyone with an interest.
Planning is never an easy or comfortable subject to discuss. I have interests on both sides of this debate but I have to support the ‘hands-off‘ side on this one. The countryside is an increasingly difficult and increasingly expensive place to live. I have nothing to back this up, but it seems to me that the rate of change in the countryside in recent years has been greater than before (at least within my memory) and a period of stability is much needed. Current rural planning control is far from ideal – village sprawl (where villages have expanded outwards along their roads one house at a time, always built right next to the road), leads to ugly, impractical, poorly designed growth. I fear the change currently on the table will just see us fill in behind these road-side huggers with private, locked away estates of yet more cut-price Palladian mansions. What we need is a proper review and a framework of protection, with managed growth (where necessary, there seem to be an awful lot of unused houses around the country) and a return to the mixed-use, close proximity, compact village of our grandparents – I don’t see that in the seeming slash-and-burn ethos of the national planning policy framework.