Shropshire countryside could suffer from simplified planning regulations, says charity
An "open door" policy on planning will lead to poorly thought-out mass development, a Shropshire countryside charity fears.
Oversimplification of the planning system will, Shropshire CPRE (formerly known as the Campaign to Protect Rural England) says, undo all the good work of smaller developers in the county and leave new housing without vital infrastructure.
The Government has published a white paper, Planning for the Future, which it says would simplify the UK's planning system making it easier for new homes to be built.
But the national CPRE fears that the chance to build affordable housing will be lost, as will greenfield land.
Today the chairman of the Shropshire branch of the CPRE, Connor Furnival, said deregulating the planning system was not the answer to boosting the economy.
It is currently campaigning against the potential for up to 120 new houses to be built in Whittington near Oswestry - on top of 34 currently being constructed - while it is about to produce its response to plans to zone land between Stirchley and Nedge Hill for housing.
"Already we have seen so many communities having to live with poorly thought-out mass developments where a lack of infrastructure and poor quality of homes has been delivered and the only one benefitting is the developer," said Mr Furnival.
"This oversimplification of the planning system will undo all the good work of smaller developers who focus on quality of design and sustainability in their developments, and it will leave a lasting sting in communities.
"Proper infrastructure such as schools, medical practices and adequate roads and public transport will undoubtedly be the last things we see come through these speedy developments."
Mr Furnival said the CPRE in Shropshire believed that housing was necessary but that it be focused on brownfield land.
"They need to have adequate infrastructure so that where new communities are born, they are not left with the stress of having to travel miles out of their area to get children to school or to see a GP," he added.
"This pandemic has shown us that despite past cynicism, people power still exists, neighbours are supporting neighbours and communities are supporting their local businesses.
"If we focus on this and drive more of this local recovery in all areas of the country then we'll get through this even stronger without the need of risking our landscapes.
"We've all seen how important the environment is for our physical and mental wellbeing and how connecting with the outdoors enriches our lives, let's not allow it to slip through our fingers with an "open doors" policy on building."
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