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The Hunt For Unicorns Goes On

It would, said communities secretary James Brokenshire, set out a vision of a planning system that delivers the homes we need. That was just six months ago as he launched what was supposed to be a new long-term National Planning Policy Framework to replace the disastrous 2012 version, although in re...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 20 February 2019

A Sewing Lesson

Pretty well everyone in the UK who is not either a volume house builder or one of their consultants now accepts that our natural environment is badly fragmented. So the DEFRA 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, published last February, is particularly interesting, containing as it does ideas fo...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 02 January 2019

The Century The Earth Caught Fire

One bit of television you may have missed over the festive season was a rerun of the 1961 movie The Day The Earth Caught Fire. Basically the film is about a bunch of national newspaper journalists trying to find out why the weather is rapidly getting weirder. Weather events all around the world are ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 27 December 2018

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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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