More Relaxed English Planning Laws

Planning LawsWe can all see the argument at either end of this planning issue: On the one hand, we have a country that is known to be short of millions of homes within its overall housing stock; on the other hand, we have beautiful countryside that needs to be protected from the builders. So what is the solution to this massive dilemma and how can planning laws ever hope to balance both of these considerations?

In short, it seems to be obvious that it is impossible to protect all the greenfield sites in England once more lenient planning laws have been passed. The population of England, and the United Kingdom as a whole, is increasing at a far higher rate than in most other countries in Europe. In fact, statistically, our population is one of the highest-rising of the first-world nations - many other first-world countries are set to experience a decrease in their overall populations over the next 30 years or so.

So, with more and more people to house over the coming decades, we need to be prepared and have somewhere suitable for them to live. Housing conditions are already falling below standard, more and more, and it seems as though we are going back in time to the Victorian era in many of our largest cities. Some families are known to be sharing accommodation that is suitable for a lot fewer people than are currently residing within the property.

The National Trust and other organisations that are concerned with the protection of rural England have admitted that they are alarmed over the relaxation in planning laws. Indeed, it has even been suggested that England may well experience a devastating boom in housing development, the like of which has not been seen in this country since the 1930s.

Some people maintain that the main answer to this huge dilemma lies in our net immigration figures. As we are talking about hundreds of thousands of new inhabitants within our country each and every year, it is this unsustainable trend that needs to be addressed immediately. We are all aware of the fact that the UK is legally obliged to permit other citizens of the EU to move to this country and this is something that the government has failed to question so far. However, many believe that given the exceptional and potentially damaging consequences that are arising from such an influx of immigrants to our country, we should be entitled to apply for a derogation of these particular EU laws. After all, with such astronomically high immigration statistics here, this could well prove to be very detrimental to the whole infrastructure of the UK in the not-too-distant future.

The simple truth of the matter is that there are not enough brownfield sites in England to accommodate the millions of homes that will be needed in the future. When we turn our local news on lately, we are guaranteed to hear of new plans to build large-scale developments, and even whole new towns, in areas that are currently classified as green field sites. Alas, it seems inevitable that this will be the ‘nature of the beast’ as things stand at the moment.

Then you have the problem of people struggling financially to get into the housing market in the first place. Lending organisations created the financial crisis that is being experienced at the moment, yet despite feeble attempts by the government to make them lend more actively, these companies are still overly cautious and are generally making this problem even worse.

We all agree that things simply cannot continue as they are. In fact, in many ways, it can seem as though our once-great nation is actually imploding. Steps definitely need to be taken to address this situation and whilst more relaxed planning laws may help to alleviate some of the problems we are facing in accommodating the number of people currently within our country, it does seem apparent that this unsustainable rise in population needs to be curtailed as soon as humanly possible.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily the views of ILSPA.