Coalition Plans Massive Green Field Building Programme

16:51 Wednesday 28th November 2012
The Jeremy Sallis Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

JEREMY SALLIS: The Planning Minister says a third more open land must be built on to meet the demand for housing. Nick Bowles believes building on another three per cent of land in England, bringing the total to about twelve per cent, would solve the housing problem. It would also mean an area more than twice the size of Greater London disappearing under concrete. But the Minister is giving this guarantee. (TAPE)
NICK BOWLES: We’re saying very clearly that we’re going to protect the Green Belt, we’re going to keep the Green Belt, but people, if they want to have housing for their kids, if they want to have people able to bring up their kids in a small house with a garden, they’ve got to accept that we’ve got to build more on some open land. (LIVE)
JEREMY SALLIS: He also said there’s too much of what he calls “pig-ugly development” being built by lazy builders, and argues that housing developments can be more beautiful than nature. Well Wayne Hemingway, who’s on the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, agrees. He says 300,000 homes are needed each year, but only 100,000 are being built. So some open land must be used. (TAPE)
WAYNE HEMINGWAY: Building on open countryside, or on traditional green land, is part of the solution, only part of the solution. And if we look at those areas, and do a full audit of it, I’m sure that we won’t upset that many people. And we’ll give something back to the people who are looking for homes. (LIVE)
JEREMY SALLIS: But others fear for the future of the countryside. Ben Cowell of the National Trust says there’s a lot of land that could be built on before destroying open land. (TAPE)
BEN COWELL: We strongly believe that we should build on brown field land first. We should be looking at how we can incorporate new homes into existing cities and towns, and there are planning permissions in place for hundreds of thousands of homes, which are being sat on by the developers. And homes are not being built. (LIVE)
JEREMY SALLIS: Labour’s Shadow Communities Minister Jack Dromey blames the Government for that. (TAPE)
JACK DROMEY: There is land with planning permission that could build 400,000 homes tomorrow. The fact those homes are not being built is because the Government has mismanaged the economy, people can’t get mortgages, therefore the developers aren’t building on that land. And also the decision by George Osborne to cut £4 billion from investment in affordable house building led to a sixty eight per cent collapse in affordable house building. (LIVE)
JEREMY SALLIS: Well the Planning Minister Nick Bowles also has opponents in his own ranks, who have been angered by green field developments in their areas. But his argument is that without more development on open land, many of today’s children will never have a home with a garden in which to bring up their own children. Well your homework for tonight is to find me a housing development which is more beautiful than nature.