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03/03/2014

Changing a mindset

We must be committed not to building new housing estates, but to the creation of high quality new communities

We must be committed not to building new housing estates, but to the creation of high quality new communities

I was reminded at the Town and Country Planning Association’s annual conference that the housing strategy is two years old. What’s changed in the intervening period?
 
We’ve seen the NPPF, the NPPG and some settling down of the new planning system. We’ve seen a return to a significant degree of planning by appeal, or “planning by surrender” with planning authorities throwing in the towel at appeal. There’s the new neighbourhood planning process. And, of course, CIL.
 
Planning minister Nick Boles believes the planning process should be capable of delivering the large-scale development required to address the housing shortage. He is an advocate of the garden cities principles of development and understands the need for good stewardship to ensure the creation and maintenance of high quality places.  He also wants to see if neighbourhood planning-light can be introduced with reforms to the current system to speed it up.
 
Labour’s shadow planning minister Emma Reynolds has proposed new towns and garden cities to achieve Ed Milliband’s ambition of 200,000 houses a year by 2020.
 
But Boles and his colleagues, and those who come after him, have to address how to change the mindset of middle England that is so often firmly against new development. We have to take the fear out of new development by ensuring that, according to the old spelling rule “i” before “e”, infrastructure is delivered before expansion. And then we must be committed not to building new housing estates, but to the creation of high quality new communities, creating beautiful and long lasting places.
 
Christine de Ferrars Green is a partner at Mills & Reeve. Read more blogs here 

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