If you are going to have a huge cabinet rumble about this at least have it around some good planning principles rather than some (naive) assumptions based around some dumbtanks who have fired up a GIS for the first and jumped to conclusions, like those who find that petrol stations are generally located near supermarkets and might think that supermarkets chose to locate next to petrol stations. Why?
- Its an odd fraction of a school, the number one principle in planning is you don’t build an isolated community thats’ a fraction of a secondary school, or primary school pupil product. I could go through the assumptions here on gross to net ratios, likelihood of finding undevelopable areas etc, % of sellable that will go to non housing etc, but broadly in average 2,500 population for a primary school , minimum 2FE size and 10,000 for a secondary school. Its just adds to driving and commuting to schools by being an odd number
- Stations are often in the wrong place. South Essex station have lots already built around them, forcing development beyond them if at all, in Kent for bizarre historical reasons in terms of under powered early steam trains trying to get to Dover via a route that didn’t go under Greenwich park because the Admiralty though they would shake their chronometers, they are in the middle of nowhere. Actually there is a case for a large new town in this Paddock Wood corridor west of Ashford, but unplanned ad-hoc release of sprawl here would actually put that back and sterilize the land, as well as the dramatic potential for a high speed line here via either a tunnel to Red hill/Crossrail 3 Chessington and/ or a tunnel to Gatwick as consultants (and me) have put forward.
- In Herts, Surrey and Bucks they are almost all in AONB. In Kent and Surrey many are surrounded by ancient woodland.
- In Berks they tend to be in the flood plain
- What County does that leave around London?
- There is potential capacity here for a few stations here and there, in some cases like in Oxfordshire and around Cambridge their is no choice, but when you do the analysis with a careful planners eye it is well less than 200-300,000, certainly less than one years housing supply in the Met Green Belt, what about the other 32 till 2050 horizon of strategic plans?
- There are only so many and when you have built 1/2 mile around the least constrained stations what next, you have screwed up for potential comprehensive Garden Communities planning
Lets get real. There is a case for GB release around some stations, in many cases it needs to be more than 1/2 mile because stations are in the wrong place. Setting an arbitrary number would create a green belt map looking like someone shot it with a shotgun crating bizarre urban forms alien to the contours and forms of the local landscape, like those sites At Waltham Abbey and in Bedfordshire where mistakes in inset maps forced housing sites into bizarre square corners because inspectors emphasised pure geometry over good design. In most cases you find the big numbers for real communities only come from large sites near stations connected by BRT, which requires proper planning at a city region scale.
This is the equivalent of beds in cowsheds which is creating rural slums akin to housing in Belorussian villages, or of offices which all the research shows has created Rackman like slums of the smallest housing in Europe without any affordable housing (of course planners fear this because they fear for the consequences on human beings of arrogant dumbtanks denying vast research reports involving that alien concept to SW1 Dumbtanks – evidence). This potential policy seems to be in the same category, park homes estates and persimilar homes estates to follow, not planned garden communities in the right place and enhancing the landscape..