ARE WAVERLEY PLANNERS READING THIS?
The government’s ‘Locally-led Garden Villages/ Towns’ prospectus makes an attractive offer to hard-pressed local authority planning teams struggling to deploy the capacity and capabilities necessary to progress new local housing communities at scale.
Successful proposals – for either villages and communities up to 10,000 homes, or for towns and cities over 10,000 homes – will receive resources to increase capacity to manage the process, and Government assistance with brokerage to remove complex blockages and constraints.
Support for small-ish new settlements which are well-designed, with an attractive environment, multi-functional green spaces, low carbon transport and urban mobility, and fit-for purpose social and community infrastructure is, therefore, manifest in significant swathes of proposed practice across England – particularly, the South.
Government makes a virtue of not prescribing explicit ‘garden community’ principles. It has even removed the TCPA principles which it highlighted in the coalition’s previous prospectusin 2014. The prospectus cautions against proposals that adopt ‘garden’ as a convenient label and against ‘urban extensions’ (as opposed to genuinely new communities).
A major issue with this otherwise worthy endeavour, though, is its almost total focus on significant but relatively modest housing numbers. The prospectus makes no explicit link to employment and certainly does not go as far as suggesting job numbers. Similarly, the NHS England initiative focuses on building ‘nice places’, without recognising that gainful employment is one of the major determinants of healthy living.
Let’s face it Waverley Borough Council is wedded to the idea of building all over the borough’s green fields!
Yesterday yet another one bit the dust when a Government Inspector allowed Berkeley Homes appeal for 425 houses in Cranleigh and one of the village’s Waverley councillors stood up before an Inspector to support it. Well done Councillor Patricia Ellis! Wasn’t it your husband the venerable Councillor Brian Ellis who warbled on about developers ruining Cranleigh just a few weeks ago – such utter hypocrisy. Read here: The Cranleigh Warbler…warbling…