Today, the green vision of Eco towns is stuck in the 'Brown' legacy of environmental red tape and regulation.

The Town Planning of the Utopians is dead.  The concept of any kind of new towns is a distant distraction. Eco towns with sustainable futures are a far fetched fantasy. We will not solve our urgent housing crisis by planning large new towns in the countryside. Worse, it is the fantasy of deluded social engineering and state control; of simple solutions to complex problems. Today the green vision of eco towns is stuck in a ‘Brown’ legacy of environmental red-tape and regulation.

 

We have come to distrust enterprise and innovation. We have conflated aspiration and avarice. Yet, where these qualities have emerged in less regulated industries like I.T., they have been transformational. We have witnessed growth on an exponential scale. We know that change comes from the belief of individuals unfettered by state control and unafraid to fail and we have seen the power of an idea that time has come.

 

The opportunity for housing to improve the lives of our people is huge but we must be prepared to tear up red tape and regulation that inhibits progress. We must be prepared to trust the professionals in the house building industry to deploy their innovation and enterprise, to secure the wide range of housing that we need and of course we will build new homes to sustainable building codes. A blend of creative design and renewable energy sources - that defines the sustainable homes of the future.

 

Defra introduced an initiative in March that scraps or improves many of the environmental regulations that inhibit progress. This is one step forward. So too does the National Planning Policy Framework that calls for a positive approach to sustainable development generally, which is a statement of intent as to how proposals for much-needed developments are to be received and an exhortation for us all to seek opportunities to enhance our built environment.  The Green deal promotes improvements in existing housing and incentivizes efforts to bring our housing stock to a sustainable future.  

 

We can still drastically reduce the regulation imposed by local planning authorities; free a wider amount of development of the need for planning permission. We could allocate specific residential land uses where values would not need to compete with alternative uses. How about a policy of higher residential building, offering the opportunity for more efficient land use? 

 

We must abandon the goal of zero carbon homes by 2016 and settle on a workable code level, allowing market forces to drive any increase. 

 

We should free development of obsolete legal restrictions by removing Freehold Restrictive Covenants over 50 years old from titles. 

 

Let us now make new homes a priority by freeing development of the restrictions and regulation and build new homes in the communities where people want to live.

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