The CPRE is calling on the Government to halt “reckless development” in an upcoming Planning Bill after reporting that since 2012, the amount of greenfield land in England’s 34 Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty that will be built on has more than doubled. The countryside charity’s research found that the developments on AONBs use up twice as much land compared to the national average for developments but only 16 per cent of the homes built there are affordable.
Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, says this lines the pockets of “greedy developers whilst undermining climate action, stalling nature’s recovery and gobbling up our most precious green space that’s vital for our health and wellbeing, all while doing next to nothing to tackle the affordable housing crisis.”
This newspaper would reiterate a previous call: the need for national, regional and local bodies to develop a strategy that incentivises builders to create affordable housing in a way that is harmonious with the aesthetic heritage and ecology of rural areas, both of which are so important not only to pride of place but tourism too.
Only in December were the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors given Dark Skies Reserves designation for boasting some of the best places nationally to escape light pollution.
How self-sabotaging it would be to sacrifice the potential of such accolades with planning decisions that blight the countryside’s peaceful plains.