The recent Dale Farm debate has highlighted the impact of the UK’s planning laws and the rights and wrongs of protecting the green belt countryside in favour of providing enough dwelling space for UK inhabitants.
The country is divided. Some argue that it is vital to protect our countryside and open spaces for the sake of wildlife and generations to come. Others believe that providing adequate affordable housing is more important. The Telegraph’s ‘Hands off our Land Campaign’ is currently campaigning against reforms to planning laws which could force rural towns and villages to accept new building developments, even if large chunks of countryside are lost. However, pro-reform activists, including planning minister Greg Clark, argue that blocking the planning proposals would “deny young people the chance of owning a home and condemn others to overcrowding and poverty, driven by soaring rents and house prices”.
It seems that the pro-reform argument is based on demand/supply ratios and a claim that a greater supply of housing would; make homes more affordable, contribute to more comfortable living conditions, and ultimately stimulate the economy. However, many of those opposed to the planning reforms dismiss these views as over-simplistic.
Whatever your view, there is no denying there are many facets to the debate. Below are a number of statistics published by the Telegraph that may lead you to reconsider your stance:
3,000 acres of land would be lost each year if the new planning proposals are passed (according to estimates)
2.5 million people delaying starting a family due to the lack of a home of their own (Shelter)
740,000 homes in the UK are empty – a quarter of them are in the South East
280,000 new homes could be built on undeveloped land
3 million new homes could be built on current brownfield land without any changes to the rules (Homes and Communities Agency)