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Saturday, April 22, 2006
Politicking 2
The Tories are really on the offensive to make planning and regeneration an election issue. It's always surprised me that no political party have really seen the potential of the field as a vote-winner - after all, it basically deals with everything that voters care about - quality of life, nice friendly neighbourhoods, property prices, good schools and decent local shops.

Well now, in a classic example of taking a totally uneducated electorate for a ride, the Tories are insinuating that under Prescott your leafy back garden will get repossessed to build flats on. The Tories said the Government has given £2 million of taxpayers' money to planners and academics to investigate "urban densification."

The recommendations include that a development in suburban neighbourhoods should be double the current density and there is "considerable potential" for back garden development. According to the Tories, other recommendations include that back gardens over 30 metres should be sold off for building and Green Belt land should be built over and any "local opposition" ignored.

"Councils are increasingly powerless to protect against growing urban sprawl and ugly "densification. Local councillors should be able to stop blocks of flats being dumped in neighbourhoods if out of character with the area, the Tories claim. It is clear that John Prescott has Britain's back gardens in their sights and is bankrolling garden-grabbing studies with taxpayers' cash. But Labour fail to understand that young couples and families want new homes with gardens."

Well yes, we all know that there is considerable scope for development in people's back gardens, if the right planning frameworks were in place. But this would only be to the benefit of the property owner as they would be able to sell off land for an immense profit. There are certainly no plans to force anyone to sell up and anyone with any knowledge knows that this would be completely impossible to get through legislation and practice.

I really hate this kind of scaremongering which entirely plays on the fact that most of the public know absolutely nothing about how planning works. The Tories should be ashamed.,

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