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Housing Development Cropped

blog: A little less conversation

Author: Dan Palmer

Whilst having a view or an opinion, and being able to share that view or opinion in an open and pragmatic manner, is a good thing, is there a point where enough is enough?

Having worked on a variety of projects throughout the UK, I’m often asked "show me an example of where this worked!?.." but often the simple truth is that the UK is so far behind the curve on forward-thinking development planning and implementation, we have to look to our neighbours from mainland Europe for  examples, with the retort being "that’s all very well, but they’re Dutch / Danish {insert nationality here}…they’re not the same as us!"

The issue we seem to be having is that whilst many UK cities are shouting about a ‘Climate Emergency’, and whilst strategically climate change is high on the political agenda, at local authority level the message doesn’t appear to be filtering through. We’re still creating more of the same car-dominated developments so they're approved at planning committees up and down the country – it sometimes feels like we’re designing places for planning permissions rather than for people. 

Leicester Clean Air Zone Studies
Housing Development Cropped 2

Some senior decision-makers are still of the mindset that 'car is king', but many of them may not be around to see the legacy of their own decisions. Whilst being a local gives you an insight into issues, at times it can also blinker you from wider experience and understanding, and it’s this understanding that is required to make a positive and decisive step away from the norm.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that every town and city throughout the country should be seamlessly connected by a range of high quality public transport services and sustainable mode choices, but we have to start somewhere: spend the money in the right places and allow professionals to make informed decisions. The irony of a lengthy conversation with a highway authority to ensure that a new residential development had enough car parking in the local centre, to cater for those driving all of two minutes to the chip shop and off-license, was lost on some (probably not the NHS).

We need less consultation and more action if we’re going to address our climatic and housing crisis as the two are intrinsically linked – let's focus on creating inspiring, interesting, and high quality sustainable development, and not quibble over being a few parking spaces short. A little less conversation, a little more action, please!

To find out about the sort of Development Planning work that ITP is involved with, click here.


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