Red on Green

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Richard Rogers attacks relaxing of planning restrictions in the green belt

Richard Rogers has made his views clear about the impact of relaxing planning restrictions in the green belt. Beneath is an extract from his article in the London’ Evening Standard newspaper.

It would destroy London’s vitality “even more surely than it would despoil the countryside,” he claims.

“I do not say this as a rural nimby, though I treasure England’s natural landscape, but as a defender of cities,” writes Rogers in the arguing that the city’s mix of jobs, shops, restaurants, parks and nightlife acts as “a magnet to people from across the globe.”

“Letting the city sprawl would undermine this mix and intensity, reversing the rebirth of city-centre living,” he warns, saying suburban sprawl not only leads to “social atomisation” but becomes “environmentally disastrous” as car journeys displace public transport.

To solve the UK’s housing crisis, architects, planners and developers “need to show ingenuity” by redeveloping thousands of hectares of brownfield land as well as empty offices and houses across the country – but simply converting buildings is not enough, he argues.

“It will not create homes or communities unless intelligent urban design and planning also create the schools, shops and public transport hubs civilised life demands.

“And why should we rush to convert office blocks when we already have three-quarters of a million homes in England lying empty, and sites with planning permission for 400,000 more?”