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What We Can Learn From History

I have been reading the letters of the Younger Pliny. If that sounds pretentious, it is rather. But there is a reason for it. We recently returned from a week-long holiday in southern Italy, in my case travelling with a twinge of -apos-flygskam-apos-, or flight shame, though clearly not enough. The ...

Posted by Nigel Pearce on 15 June 2019

A Manifesto For Our Future

The recent local government elections brought into office a significant number of independent candidates, and indeed many independent-minded members of our national parties. What they share in common is anger at having their planning system undermined by Whitehall to generate the sort of car-depende...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 05 June 2019

Jump To It, Chancellor

Setting no less a person than the Chancellor of the Exchequer four tests he must meet if the infrastructure needs of the nation are to be met sounds like it could be the action of a pretty independent body. With HM Treasury effectively running domestic policy, as it has done for some decades now, su...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 13 May 2019

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PRESS RELEASE Garden Towns and Villages

Added on 04 May 2017

A new report from the Smart Growth UK coalition on the Government&rsquos programme for garden towns and villages has found there is little to distinguish them from traditional greenfield sprawl and they have serious sustainability shortcomings.

The report includes input from some of the community bodies opposing the developments and says the high moral tone of promoters is at odds with the reality of their proposals. Most of the 10 garden towns and 14 garden villages endorsed by the Department for Communities and Local Government are simply existing urban extension proposals rebadged, with added &ldquogreen-wash&rdquo.

The garden towns are mostly agglomerations of existing urban extension plans, often miles apart and having little or no relationship to one another. They are not towns at all, in fact several are simply blobs of urban sprawl outside more than one existing town.

Only three out of 14 garden villages meet DCLG&rsquos stipulation that they should be new settlements. Few of the garden towns or villages make much use of brownfield land and most are predominantly or wholly greenfield. Most would place heavy demands on local infrastructure.

Adherence to the &ldquogarden city&rdquo principle of low-density development means all of them are set to be basically car-dependent. There is virtually no sign of the transit-oriented development that modern sustainable development demands and they would add to local traffic congestion.

Even if all 24 were ever completed, they would make very little contribution to housing shortages and few are located in areas of greatest need. Some include substantial employment space &ndash but this would just increase housing demand in areas where local people are already finding it hard to find homes for their families. Others would create thousands more homes in areas of low-demand and stagnant markets.

They are supposed to enjoy &ldquocommunity support&rdquo but local opposition is growing despite the heavily moralistic tone of their promoters. The report recommends a Smart Growth alternative approach for meeting our housing needs.

Report

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