Is it too soon to celebrate Victory on #NPPF ? – Cameron ‘”Yes we need more housing, but sprawling over the countryside isn’t the answer”

Here is the link to the full speech on the number 10 website.  Slightly ambigous, does this imply economic growth or physical growth?  Does it imply no ‘brownfield first ‘ – doubt.

The section on Planning

The growth of our towns and cities has been held back by a planning system which has encouraged development of the wrong sort in the wrong places.

We need homes for people who need them, in the places they want them, while protecting our fine landscapes and preserving the greenbelt.

It seems to me that our post-war predecessors had the right idea, embodied in the visionary plan prepared by Patrick Abercrombie in 1944.

His plan underpinned the South East’s economic success by proposing well-planned and well-located new towns which would in time become new engines of economic growth.

And he twinned that vision with proposals for a new London Green Belt to prevent sprawl.

While everyone celebrates the success of the Green Belt, far fewer people celebrate the contribution that the new towns made to maintaining it intact.

Some people feel we’ve lost the art of creating great places with the right social and environmental infrastructure.

Certainly, mistakes were made in the new towns, with the state deciding arrogantly what people ought to like.

But in the last century, private and social enterprise also created places like Hampstead Garden Suburb, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City – not perfect, but popular – green, planned, secure, with gardens, places to play and characterful houses; not just car-dominated concrete grids.

Yes we need more housing, but sprawling over the countryside isn’t the answer.

We absolutely must protect our Green Belts and National Parks. But we also urgently need to find places where we are prepared to allow significant new growth to happen.

That’s why we will begin consultation later this year on how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential growth, in places people want to live.

And we must get our planning system fit for purpose.

It needs to be quick. It needs to be easier to use.

And it needs to better support growth, jobs and homes.

But the key message that we can have both homes and protect the countryside if we avoid sprawl has been the central message of the Campaign Against Sprawl, and on that issue it seems the government has been sold.  Sorry the boosterists of the draft like the HBF and Colin Miles- who wanted willy nilly appeal led planning, it looks like you lost the argument.

Note the ‘we’ in the speech, it refers to a national ‘we’ in terms of finding places for significant growth.  Localism has its important place, in the neighbourhood, not planning whole towns and regions.  The short lived age of localism officially ended 19th March 2012.

BBC coverage

PM urges ‘garden suburb principles’ in future developments

David Cameron has promised to “apply the principles of garden cities”, including more open space and characterful housing, as part of its overhaul of planning in England.

He said it was important to create places where “people want to live”.

The government has been accused of neglecting the environment with proposals to free up planning.

In a pre-Budget speech, Mr Cameron also said he had an “open mind” on building an airport to the east of London.

He added that ministers would work with companies to replace the UK’s nuclear power stations by 2030.

Mr Cameron, who also set out plans for possible new toll roads in the same speech, said he believed investment in good infrastructure could “pay for itself”.

The government says it wants to simplify Britain’s complex planning system to kick-start house building, which is at levels last seen in the 1920s, and business growth.

It advocates a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” to ensure more homes are built and jobs created.

But opponents say changes – outlined in the draft National Planning Policy Framework – will weaken protection for the green belt and increase reliance on cars.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework is expected to be published this week, possibly on the day of the Budget.

Mr Cameron said “it will support sustainable development and it will play a key role in delivering for Britain the infrastructure we need to be successful in the twenty first century”.

Addressing the Institution of Civil Engineers, Mr Cameron said the government would attempt to balance wider environmental concerns with the need for more housing.

He said: “Some people feel we’ve lost the art of creating great places with the right social and environmental infrastructure.

“Certainly, mistakes were made in the [post-war] new towns, with the state deciding arrogantly what people ought to like.

“But in the last century, private and social enterprise also created places like Hampstead Garden Suburb, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City – not perfect, but popular – green, planned, secure, with gardens, places to play and characterful houses; not just car-dominated concrete grids.”

“Yes we need more housing, but sprawling over the countryside isn’t the answer. We absolutely must protect our green belts and national parks.

“But we also urgently need to find places where we are prepared to allow significant new growth to happen. That’s why we will begin consultation later this year on how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential growth, in places people want to live.”

“We must get our planning system fit for purpose. It needs to be quick. It needs to be easier to use. And it needs to better support growth, jobs and homes.”

He said the government would not suffer the “failure of nerve” which hit previous governments saying: “We will take difficult decisions. We will risk short-term unpopularity… because our motivation and our duty is to protect and champion the national interest.”

On nuclear power, Mr Cameron went on to “confirm our intention to work with the private sector to deliver the new plants that companies would like to build between now and 2030”.

And he said Chancellor George Osborne would be announcing “ten super-connected cities, which will have universal access to ultra-fast 100Mb broadband, making them some of the fastest and best connected cities in the world”.

In a question-and-answer session after the speech, he added that he had an “open mind” on London Mayor Boris Johnson’s call to build a new airport to the east of the City in the Thames estuary, to take over from Heathrow, in the west, as a major international transport hub.

He added that he was “not blind to the need to increase airport capacity”, although the government has already ruled out building a new runway at Heathrow Airport, which is to the west of London.

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