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.http://www.flickr.com/photos/31387699@N00/4675022016/sizes/l/in/photostream/

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.”


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Xiaomi Mi 3, Mi Note and Mi 4 Updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow OTA

    Xiaomi Note Updated Android Marshmallow

    Android 6.0 Marshmallow is already running on most of Google’s Nexus devices along with other mobile devices that have been manufactured by other companies. It... Read more

    By  Dailyfusion
    CURRENT, ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY
  • Pamper Gifts for Her & Competition

    Pamper Gifts Competition

    There is still plenty of time to go and buy those last minute gifts and if there is a special woman in ones life then maybe take a look at these pamper sets.... Read more

    By  Evette Garside
    FAMILY
  • Islam is Not a Religion, It is a Government

    Islam Religion, Government

    Shah's official portrait. WikipediaI remember the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1979. Shah is another name for king. Read more

    By  Elizabethprata
    SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
  • Six Months In China!

    Months China!

    Embarking on a new journey always fills me with a feeling of trepidation and excitement. Choosing China didn't take time it was finding a legitimate teaching... Read more

    By  Joseph Harrison
    TRAVEL
  • Weird Christmas Ornaments

    Weird Christmas Ornaments

    While some are at war with Christmas, others are celebrating the new made up holiday of Merry Trumpmas:   *singing* Oh, the weather outside the Wall is... Read more

    By  Christopher De Voss
    HUMOR
  • Bacalhau Recipe

    Bacalhau Recipe

    There are 1001 ways to prepare Bacalhau (salt cod), but there is only one Bacalhau Recipe the Portuguese keep faithful to. It goes by several names like Bacalha... Read more

    By  Nelsoncarvalheiro
    FOOD & DRINK, TRAVEL
  • NASA is Now Accepting Applications for Astronauts!

    NASA Accepting Applications Astronauts!

    Have you always dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Do you see traveling through space as the ultimate adventure? Well, today just might be your lucky day, becaus... Read more

    By  Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS