Planning is the problem

Many of the local issues people raise with me in the emails and on the doorsteps come from planning problems. Wokingham experienced a rapid rate of new development in the 1980s with the construction of Lower Earley and Woosehill. The campaign I and others waged then scaled Wokingham down from a fast growth area. Under the Labour government development still continued at a pace which eroded green gaps, placed more pressure on our stretched road and transport system and increased the demands on public services generally. Two of the worst features of this government’s approach has been to insist on much higher density development and to allow town cramming with backland development.

The attractions of Wokingham and West Berkshire include a lot of good housing with decent plots and quiet residential roads, green gaps between villages and towns, and that pleasing mixture of town and countryside. There comes a point where intense development with high density new projects changes that characteristic too much. That is why I have worked hard to persuade the Conservative party that we need to change national planning policies if elected to government.

A Conservative governemnt would end the top down housing targets set by Whitehall and regional government. It would give to West Berkshire and Wokingham Councils powers to make local decisions about how much development is appropriate and where it should go. Given the pressures on four different areas within Wokingham Borough today, the sooner we get such a change at the top the better. I would then press the Councils to draw up new local plans that are sensitive to local wishes.

Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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  1. Frugal Dougal
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Even in the absence of all the other reasons to vote Conservative, your second-last paragraph would be reason enough. Well done for highlighting the problems that central planning regarding housing developments has on the environment on Earth Day.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Agree with your comments about high density.

    For too long Councils have insisted on High density developments, in order to restrict urban spread. But at the same time meet Central Government, National Building numbers.

    The result small houses/flats, with too smaller rooms, jammed into a space which has too narrower roads, with very limited parking. All of which offers a lower standard of housing and living and concentrates traffic which overwhelms the existing infrastructure.

    Many years ago when visiting San Diago was struck by the explanation of their then Planning programme.

    No building was allowed to be constructed which put another building in the shade for more than two hours a day.

    Reason Given:
    Most cities are like a clenched fist, with tension everywhere, where people seem to fight each other for their own personal space.

    They wanted to be different, hence the above policy which gives far more open space than most Cities, and does not have the usual tensions, as people feel they have plenty of open space around them.
    They aimed for an open hand (with spread fingers) type of Planning Policy instead of the clenched fist operated by so many others.

    A rather good explanation I thought, which has many attractive areas.

  3. cheap ghd
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Many years ago when visiting San Diago was struck by the explanation of their then Planning programme.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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