Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Garden Cities and local food systems

The reason that I am not a fan of new settlements is that I feel that a substantial amount of new development should be in the form of smaller dwellings, many in the form of co-housing and commissioned by associations of individuals (see Housing and Planning Bill and opportunity to sign up to registers held by Local Planning Authorities after 1 April).  New settlements are more likely to perpetuate the current unsustainable levels of under-occupation of our housing stock that using new build to balance the size of houses and households.

Having said that, the Government has continued with its support for new settlements with a call for expressions of interest in the recent publication of "Locally-led garden villages, towns and cities" found through Google but with expressions of interest required by 31 July 2016!  How local opinion will be ascertained within the next 4 months and how these proposals would fit with existing and emerging development plans is a puzzle.

Those wanting to contribute to this 'debate' might be interested in the email sent to the Communities Secretary.

Dear Sir or Madam

Having read through the latest promotion of garden villages, towns and cities I would be interested to know whether this is an amplification of the advice at para 52 of the NPPF or intends to change it in any way?

Para 52. states,  "The supply of new homes can sometimes be best achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or extensions to existing villages and towns that follow the principles of Garden Cities…."

It was and is a fundamental principle of garden cities (and sustainable development) that the urban areas are functionally related to the surrounding rural hinterland  that should include zones for market gardening.  it seems to be the case that in the desire to see more housing being built the important contribution that should be made by local/regional food systems is being overlooked.  If Para 52 of the NPPF remains as Government policy should DCLG not be reminding those submitting expressions of interest that the related use of the surrounding rural area will be fundamental to their prospects of success?

Yours sincerely

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