PM tears up 60 years of Planning Law to Provide Garden Cities

Posted on 25 March, 2012 by MOVEHUT

David Cameron swore to tear up 60 years of planning law to construct new towns and give Britain another airport in the South East.

The Prime Minister revealed plans for a wave of new ‘garden cities’-quickly labelled ‘Cam Towns’-and gave the strongest backing so far for a new ‘Boris Island’ commercial property airport in the Thames estuary, heavily driven by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Mr Cameron accepted there would be ‘costs and protests’, but shrugged off the hostility surrounding the planning renovation, saying that he wants a Victorian-style blitz on new commercial property infrastructure building to increase growth.

Mr Cameron warned that failure to act would sentence Britain to being a second-rate country. However his plans were quickly condemned by green campaigners and rural groups as a blueprint for ‘disfiguring’ the countryside that would harm the fabric of Britain.

In a speech at the Institute of Civil Engineering in London, Mr Cameron promised to overcome what he called a ‘failure of nerve’ on development.

The Prime Minister rejected calls by commercial property groups such as the National Trust to tear up its new National Planning Policy Framework, due shortly, saying it would be responsible for ‘the biggest simplification of our bureaucratic, top-down planning laws in 60 years’.

He said the Government would safeguard national parks and green belts, but added: ‘We also urgently need to find places where we are prepared to allow significant new growth to happen.’

Vowing to reinvent a ‘visionary plan’ from 1994 to build new towns across the South East, Mr Cameron said: ‘The growth of our towns and cities has been held back by a planning system which has encouraged development of the wrong sort in the wrong places.’

The Prime Minister said places such as Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City and Hampstead Garden Suburb were “not perfect but popular” and the coalition would seek to construct more towns that were ‘green, planned, secure, with gardens, places to play and characterful houses, not just car-dominated concrete grids’.

David Cameron said the Government would start discussing “how to apply the principles of garden cities to areas with high potential growth, in places people want to live” later this year.

He further added: “We must get our planning system fir for purpose. It needs to be quick. It needs to be easier to use. And it needs to be better support growth, jobs and homes.”

The Prime Minister said the Government needs to be in the same way ‘bold’ about air transport too.

Risking a new row with the Liberal Democrats, who oppose all commercial property airport expansion in the South East, he said: “I’m not blind to the need to increase airport capacity, particularly in the South East.”

He further added: “We need to retain our status as a key global hub for air travel, not just a feeder route to bigger airports elsewhere in Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Dubai.”

The Tory Party has ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, however Mr Cameron made warm noises about building a new commercial property international hub airport East of London. He said: “Yes, this will be controversial. We will bring forward options in our aviation strategy which will include an examination of the pros and cons of a new airport in the Thames Estuary.”

Mr Cameron applauded Boris Johnson, saying he had “done very well in driving forward this agenda.”

The Prime Minister also revealed £150 million of new investment in ‘shovel ready’ commercial property building projects that already have planning permission but are slowed down by lack of investment.

Chancellor George Osborne has also announced in his budget ten ‘super-connected’ cities are to have worldwide access to super-fast broadband as part of the drive to develop telecommunications.

Director of Policy for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Neil Sinden, attacked the plans for building in the countryside. He said: “If the Government’s planning reforms remain unchanged from the draft published last year, pressure for sprawling development is precisely what we can expect. Unless the final planning framework recognises the intrinsic value of our countryside as a whole, we fear a rash of sporadic and inappropriate development across the country, disfiguring the rural landscape which is so valued by local communities.”

However Mr Cameron vowed to stand up to the opponents: “There will be costs and protests. And I am certainly not doing it in the hope of immediate political advantage. I can see the furious objections-the banner headlines-already.

“We will take difficult decisions, we will risk short-term unpopularity. We will hold fast to our vision in the face of vested interests, because our motivation and our duty is to protect and champion the national interest.”

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