Planning Minister calls for house building on open land

| November 28, 2012
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Housing Minister Nick Boles suggested on the BBC’s Newsnight programme that more housing should be built on open land.

Increasing the amount of developed land by a third to 12 per cent would “solve the housing problem” Mr Boles said.

He said that in exchange for building on open land, greenbelt spaces would be defended.

“The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better,” he said.

Controversially, he described current housebuilding as “ugly rubbish” and said that housing should be “beautiful” and sensitive to its surroundings.

Currently around 9 per cent of the UK’s land is already developed.

Mr Boles’ proposals would see houses built on 1,500 square miles of open land.

Speaking to developers last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced plans to create a new generation of garden cities and new towns to tackle the housing crisis, similar to Letchworth and Milton Keynes.

Mr Clegg said: “We can either condemn ourselves to haphazard urban sprawl – the surest way to damage the countryside.

“We can cram ever more people into existing settlements, concreting over gardens and parks – and bear in mind we already build the smallest homes in western Europe, or we can build places people want to live.

“Places which draw on the best of British architecture and design, which have their own identity and character.

Which, rather than destroy the countryside, actually have a crucial role in keeping it intact.”

Construction of 50,000 homes could start in 2013 as a result of government intervention to re-start mothballed projects.

In his Autumn Statement the Chancellor is expected to promise £225 million to underwrite housing developments.

Around 100,000 new homes are believed to be needed to prevent a housing crisis.

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  1. sandra greaves says:

    in my area a further 7000 homes are to be built. we have no A&E dept no more doctors surgeries or dentists. one school was closed to build houses on several years ago. where are the facilities for all these extra people??? Now farmland opposite my sons’ house as been designated for houses as the lease has come up and the council will not renew for the farmer. this country is finished and if i was 30 years younger i’d be off without even a look back