Scrapping for building rights increases

The issue of who gets to build new housing developments and where is still grinding along, with considerable rhetoric from all sides.  The National Trust (and many other agencies and individuals) fear that unrestricted development will be the ruination of England’s traditional communities, the developers want to make money, and the general population is somewhere in the middle, confused.

Theoretically, the coalition government is trying to encourage local development guided by local councils with local needs and preferences as the deciding factor.  This certainly sounds like a sensible approach, but the path to that end seems to be anything but smooth, and the rules are far from clear.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England is meant to provide a large degree of autonomy to established residents of any given community.  It has the backing of just about all the conservationist groups in the country, and according to the Prime Minister, the preservation of England’s heritage should be a crucial part of its economic growth lest, as the National Trust views it, rural England turns into an ‘urban sprawl’ like Los Angeles.

In a Telegraph article, Andrew Iainton commented that reforms in the building regulations are still leaning in the direction of unrestricted development, aimed at improving the British economy at the expense of cherished landmarks and countryside, not to mention the remaining green space in urban areas.  He said the government is promoting the need for new development as a means to help young people looking for jobs and housing, but that isn’t really what it’s about.

Iainton cited a suggestion from the director of the Policy Exchange to the effect that local residents and business people should be able to vote on whether a particular development is needed, whether it will be supported by the necessary infrastructure and not be an eyesore or destroy the ambiance of the community.

Again, theoretically this is the objective of the government’s planning regulations, but in the opinion of  many, the implementation of that intent is going too far in favor of development at any cost.  Bottom line here seems to be the difference of opinion on how to encourage positive growth without undermining the nature and character of the areas where this growth takes place, and that is still very much in debate.