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Soviet Style

It really is quite alarming how the chorus of self-interested voices advocating the smashing up of the English planning system keeps banging on about Soviet-style controls. It is, of course, a familiar technique in the populist press. Take some casual slander and endlessly repeat it around several n...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 02 July 2020

Making Communities Wilder

A long-standing tradition among national environmental groups is not to challenge one another publicly. That is not to say there are no occasional private disagreements, but generally the tradition has worked well. Right now, however, three national bodies have tossed a stick of dynamite on to the f...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 June 2020

Cummings Corporations

Normally, ministers and civil servants consigned to the naughty step like to keep their heads down for a while, but that seems not to be the case with Dominic Cummings and Robert Jenrick. Both got into trouble over lockdown rules and the public gripes with Mr Cummings would fill a book. Indeed, seve...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 09 June 2020

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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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