Image: Example of new housing development around Cambridge.
On tonight’s repeat of Radio 4’s ‘Analysis’ Sir Jonathon Porritt suggested it is time to look less emotionally at the idea of the greenbelt and the issue of building much needed housing upon it. Porritt has spent more than three decades highlighting green issues, from his days with Friends of the Earth to advising today’s government.
This debate rears its ugly head again as the government invites comment on its Housing Green Paper. To quote;
This Housing Green Paper seeks views on the Government’s proposals to increase the supply of housing, to provide well designed and greener homes that are supported by infrastructure and to provide more affordable homes to buy or rent.
We invite responses by 15 October 2007 which should be sent, if possible by e-mail to:
It is thought that another 250,000 – 300,000 homes a year will need to be built in order to take some of the pressure out of pent up demand for housing and to relieve high real estate prices. People are living longer, more are chosing to live alone and divorce rates aren’t going down anytime soon.
As Sir Jonathan Porritt points out the NGOs have drawn a line in the sand on the issue of building on the greenbelt. NGOs like the CPRE are quick to book an interview slot with Radio4 as soon as they get a swiff of possible consideration of building upon greenbelt land. Like some demented Jack-in-the-box they pop up each time to trot out the same middle England message; ‘not upon our green and pleasant land!’ As Porritt points out, not all of it is so pleasant and should indeed be considered for home building.
The issues for housing today in the UK are really about quality of new build, the better use of empty housing, building up again but with better quality apartment living, creating better community living in new developments, government ensuring infrastructure is supporting these new developments and Nimbyism cutting off its bloody, selfish head. Oh, but lets leave the flood plains out of it shall we.