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13/03/2015

Build houses in the right places, says CPRE

Words: Laura Edgar

The next government should strengthen green belt protection, increase delivery of the "right" houses and reduce demand for car travel, says the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Stand up for the countryside, the CPRE's manifesto for the 2015 general election, outlines three key priorities the countryside body wants the next government to deliver:

• The right housing in the right places

• The right infrastructure for the right reasons

• A beautiful countryside to sustain the country

To ensure that the right houses are built in the right places, the CPRE says the government should strengthen green belt protection and support what locals want “by introducing a community right of appeal against speculative development in areas where a neighbourhood plan has been prepared."

On infrastructure provision, the organisation said: “We need to make better use of existing transport and energy infrastructure and smarter decisions on new investment, to reduce demand rather than drive for it.”

Building the wrong sort of infrastructure, the manifesto says, risks devastating the landscape, locking England into “unsustainable and increasingly expensive lifestyles”.

Therefore, the body is calling on the government to ensure that places are better suited to walking and cycling, and supported by "integrated and expanded" public transport networks.

Additionally, new energy infrastructure should have minimal local impact and incentives should be created to site renewable energy schemes on brownfield sites. The CPRE also recommends adopting a “precautionary approach to fracking”.

Stand up for the countryside states that the countryside must be protected for “its role in supporting farming, tourism and innovative businesses”.

To promote resilience of the food and farming system, the “best farmland” should be protected from development, the manifesto explains.

The CPRE said: “We need to save our countryside from unnecessary and damaging development by improving planning policy and guidance.”

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