We have had a major change in government policy – for which we should be grateful, I think – but we need to make sure that this is not just tokenism.
George Osborne gave a major speech at the Mansion House – full text is here:
Scroll down the speech to find this:
“We’ve got the biggest programme of new social housing in a generation; we’re regenerating the worst of our housing estates; and we’ve got the first garden city for almost a century underway in Ebbsfleet.
Now we need to do more. Much more.
We have beautiful landscapes, and they too are part of the inheritance of the next generation. To preserve them, we must make other compromises.
If we want to limit development on important green spaces, we have to remove all the obstacles that remain to development on brown field sites.
Today we do that with these radical steps.
Councils will be required to put local development orders on over 90% of brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.
This urban planning revolution will mean that in effect development on these sites will be pre-approved – local authorities will be able to specify the type of housing, not whether there is housing.
And it will mean planning permission for up to 200,000 new homes – while at the same time protecting our green spaces.
Tomorrow, Boris Johnson and I will jointly set out plans for new housing zones across London backed by new infrastructure, so that we see thousands of new homes for London families.
And we’ll take the same approach in the rest of the country; with almost half a billion pounds of financial assistance in total set aside to make it work.
Now I suspect there will be people who object to new building, even on the brownfields of our cities.”
This is good news. It was followed by a statement by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State, who gave this press announcement:
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“We’re determined to make the very best use of derelict land and former industrial sites to provide the homes this country desperately needs in a way that protects our valued countryside. By ensuring commitments to housing development are in place early and having dedicated housing zones, building becomes, quicker and easier for homebuilders, businesses and councils.”
He also was quoted in the Daily Telegraph on 14 June 2014 as saying “We’ve always been a green and pleasant land and we must stay that way, prerving the best of our countryside and other green spaces…we’ve also been facing a serious housing shortage in this country, and we’ve got to increase supply in line with demand. I’m determined that we rise to that challenge without building unnecessarily on undeveloped land. The way to do that is to use brownfield better”.