Current Magazine

Planning Laws Save Countryside and Please Developers: A Miracle Indeed

Posted on the 28 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Planning laws save countryside and please developers: A miracle indeed

England's green and pleasant land. Photocredit: Sam Romilly.

The British Government has retreated from its attempt to dismantle planning laws which have been in place for 60 years. Chancellor George Osborne had insisted that the countryside should be opened up to all-but unregulated development, under the draft National Planning Policy Framework.  Initially Tories had reacted with fervour against opponents to the scheme, even branding them Trostskyite. Both now both Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Nick Clegg have intervened, and 240,000 National Trust members signed a petition against the proposed legislation, and the proposals have been significantly watered down.

The plans would have in effect given builders a green card to build, not just on brownfield sites, but also on fields, pastures, valleys and coastlines, with councils obliged to set aside 20 per cent more land for building houses. Now, though, in the amended legislation, protection for the countryside is back. Commentators across the political spectrum are jubilant (apart from Greenpeace, according to Alice Thomson in The Times), all agreeing that planning is essential both to save what beauty we have left, and yet to encourage economic growth.

An enormous improvement. Let’s “heave a huge sigh of relief,” said Geoffrey Lean on The Daily Telegraph. The campaign against the legislation worked. The plans of the government would have “replaced a system that – whatever its faults – aimed to balance the needs of society, the economy and the environment.” The proposals were poorly defined, and even scrapped a policy that respected “the intrinsic character and beauty” of the countryside. Planning must now encourage brownfield land – which is “an enormous improvement.”

This sceptred isle. Planning has been more emotive than foxhunting in the countryside, said Alice Thomson in The Times. The new legislation must have seemed like a “good idea” when it was touted. Current planning laws are over 1,400 pages long – they needed simplification. And then, to Osborne, it must have seemed that Britain could “build its way out of the recession.” When the draft was published, it was “as if this sceptred isle could end up a gray and unpleasant land full of bulldozers.” Whilst the “construction industry was thrilled, conservation groups were appalled.” But now that the planning laws have been changed – under the excellent guidance of Greg Clark, the Decentralisation and Cities minister – everyone’s happy – construction groups and conservation groups alike.

Look to the cities. Even The Guardian was happy, though its focus was slightly different. Simon Jenkins called the new document a “vast relief,” which may be the only time he’s ever agreed with someone in The Daily Telegraph. Urban development, “central to planning”, is now going to come before rural. Local planning will also be given “primacy.” And best of all the new framework “recognises that civilised societies use certainty in the allocation of land, through an agreed plan, as the best way to resolve conflicts over use.” One thing this little battle has done is to shine light “on the bizarre nature of modern British government.” But what should have been at the heart of it is urban regeneration.

Simpler is possible. And actually, said The Times editorial, what this framework shows is that “the UK is open for business once again.” The new planning laws will actually “make an important contribution to economic growth, particularly in areas of the country outside London and the South East.” The process has been an example of “good politics.” In the end, business “will have certainty, a simpler planning system and a clear signal that the Government is backing economic growth,” whilst the countryside gets its request “for a clear plan to be written in advance of applications.” And those thousand or so pages of incomprehensible planning laws? Well, they’ve been boiled down to a mere 58. “For a Government that has declared war on red tape but found this hard to achieve in many areas, yesterday’s announcement on planning was an encouraging sign that simpler is not only possible, but better.”

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 – Daily Updates – Day 4 – Alan Young

    Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 Daily Updates Alan Young

    Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 - Daily Updates - Day 4 ?Ray K was my houseguest as we were not required for "security " duties. ?About 1 am we reached... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Abichal
  • Summer Festival Preview: Tanglewood

    Summer Festival Preview: Tanglewood

    Another summer under the trees offers gods, rainbows and Mahler. by Paul J. Pelkonen The Koussevitsky Concert Shed at Tanglewood, guarded by a really big... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Superconductor
  • What is The Death Gate and What Happens When It Opens

    What Death Gate Happens When Opens

    A mystery artist has created a puzzle to be solved in the form of The Deathgate... and it opens on 30 June. It's counting down right now! It may not seem obviou... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Tomatrax
  • Reasons Why the UK is Better Than Ohio

    Reasons Better Than Ohio

    Well, I just felt like listing a few of the things that make the UK better than Ohio. The UK is twice as big as Ohio (242,900 versus 116,096 sq. Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Ravenswingthog
  • A Sense Of Possession In The Industry

    One of the things that I love about music is the sense of possession you get out of it. The fact that you can have a record that is your favorite record of all... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Indiemusicpromo
  • Calling All Meat Lovers: Windy City RibFest Returns to Uptown

    Calling Meat Lovers: Windy City RibFest Returns Uptown

    Windy City RibFest in Uptown will be back again this year to dazzle your taste buds with melt-in-your-mouth slabs of meat and saucy concoctions. Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
  • Tinted Glasses

    Tinted Glasses

    To enhance a casual look, tinted glasses are perfect to jazz up your look. This inspired look from the 70s has traced the surface yet again to give a comeback b... Read more

    The 22 June 2017 by   Chayanikarabha