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We Need Safeguards From Politicians

I suppose one should be grateful for any scrap of good news, though announcements by politicians during general election campaigns should rate pretty low as optimism generators. So two cheers then for the announcement by transport secretary Grant Shapps that there might be a 500 million pound fund t...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 17 November 2019

A Really Radical Regeneration Manifesto

I think it was Voltaire who said the odd thing about the Holy Roman Empire was that it was none of those three things. Much the same could be said about the property industry Radical Regeneration Manifesto for the so-called Oxford-Cambridge Arc. My dictionary defines a manifesto as a public written ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 25 October 2019

Lies, Damned Lies And Belters

Green belts are one of the most powerful implements in the toolbox of British planning but, like all powerful devices, they can become dangerous if mishandled. One of their big dangers is turning politicians into liars. I was reminded of this yesterday by the response of the Ministry of Housing, Com...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 15 October 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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