Regeneration B r i t a i n
R E G E N E R A T I O N
B R I T A I N
‘In the times of a worrying economy, local councils look increasingly to reclaiming abandoned spaces. But are all brown field sites suitable for redevelopment?’
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ng f u yo o ” ate blem rise. d o m pro nts om t a re c ac go as ve rty ’ we ove p , ng “For companies expanding or relocating they need a new building and it’s crucial that when they’re thinking of Britain as a place to relocate they know they won’t have to wait years with vast expense and uncertainty.” The housing minister denied there would be any backtracking on the plans, despite his agreement to hold talks. He said it was “quite right” to consult because of the extent of the changes, and invited opponents to be very specific about any concerns. “Let’s be forensic about this - if there are particular aspects or sentences that you don’t think express clearly enough the protections that are there, then let’s talk about it.
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Planning minister Greg Clark said the changes in England were “absolutely crucial” but he also agreed to talk of the proposals. He said “particular aspects” could be addressed if groups such as the National Trust felt they Shadow communities minister Jack Dromey said he welcomed the government’s willingness to talk. Mr C government would not back down on its aim to boost house-building and encourage business. Campaigners say they fear excessive development under the The plan, published in July, streamlines policy that is currently more than 1,000 pages down to just 52 and features a presumption of “sustainable development”. The Department for Communities and Local Government says it intends to transform a system whose “volume and complexity have made planning increasingly inaccessible to all but specialists”. But the National Trust said the plans “failed to protect the everyday places that local communities love” while the Campaign to Protect Rural England said the government needed “to listen and make further improvements or the consequences for the English countryside and the character of our towns and villages will be grave”.
tainability is under development. It’s a welcomed Mr Clar had the right “aspira
k to opponents y were unclear. Clark said the
He said that such large-scale urban sprawl was “not going to happen here” and reiterated the government’s commitment to protect the green belt, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Councils would also have more responsibility under the new regime - which would mean better planning decisions, argued Mr Clark. Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, rejected Mr Clark’s assurances and said the proposals would give too much say to developers. “What the government is talking about is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, but if you read the National Planning Policy Framework in its draft form, what is clear is that is a presumption in favour of development, and at every point susrmined. “What they’re really talking about is a policy of ‘build, build, build’. This is about economic about prosperity over people and places.” Peter Nixon, the National Trust’s director of conservation, rk’s invitation to hold talks but also criticised the changes.He told the Times newspaper that the government ations” but the proposals currently did not allow planning authorities to make decisions in a “balanced way”.