A Wise Shift in Tactics from the CPRE

Times

Hundreds of England’s ancient villages are vanishing — swept away by a surge of housing development that is seeing historic communities engulfed into larger towns and losing their identities forever.

About 1,300 villages vanished under such rural sprawl between 2001 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figures are backed up by research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), showing hundreds more villages have vanished since 2011 — with still others doomed to disappear as the pressure for housing keeps growing.

“Developers are putting ever greater pressure on councils to release greenfield sites,” said Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE. “The system is tilted in their favour, guaranteeing many more villages will be swallowed up.”

This is a wise shift in emphasis.  Land around town might not automatically tick the boxes in the public mind of rurality, whereas land around villages might, and The sift in emphasis since the NPPF has focused disproportional growth around villages,   The use of ONS stats on ‘urbanity’ is interesting but problematic, as the more concentrated and less sprawly development is the less rural it will be under the classification.  Also population growth without development (which is what we have often seen) will automatically flip many peri urban ares to urban without any development at all – misleading.  Research to be valuable needs to set a control free of spatial autocorrelation (the independent variable here is sprawl not population density)- which CPRE research hasnt done – yet.  A geography 101 error.

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