It’s being reported that Planning Minister Nick Boles is giving an interview this evening on Newsnight in which he talks about increasing the amount of developed land by a third, from 9 per cent to around 12 per cent of the English land mass. This is necessary, he says, in order to provide for the homes that we need as a nation, to meet our housing needs.
We’ve not yet seen the full interview, but we can’t help but agreeing with the sentiments of Andrew Lainton http://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/boles-to-say-urbanised-england-must-rise-from-9-to-12-which-will-take-until-2336/ as it’s not clear where these figures have come from. Where is the serious spatial analysis that has been undertaken to justify these figures?
Three per cent of the country is an area roughly the size of Cornwall. Many parts of the country have been hit by flooding in recent days, and arguably it is precisely because we are building on flood plains and water meadows that this happens.
Mr Boles is right to talk about the need for beauty in new urban developments. Decent places to live are a human right, and it is possible to integrate new homes into the landscape in ways that ensure quality of life for people now and in the future. But the best way to do this is to start by using previously developed land, bringing empty houses back into use and densifying existing urban areas – not building on green fields.
Ben Cowell is Deputy Director, External Affairs, at the National Trust