More attractive towns and cities can ease pressure on countryside”

“MORE attractive towns and cities would ease development pressure on the countryside, say rural campaigners.

Housing should be developed alongside transport infrastructure for economic, social and environmental benefits, says the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The charity argues that high-density development near to high-quality public transport services could boost businesses and jobs.

It also calls for more well-designed homes and more diverse, exciting communities, arguing that they would reduce pressure on the Green Belt and the wider countryside.

The recommendations are made in CPRE’s ‘Making the Link’ paper which, it says, builds on emerging government thinking.

CPRE policy adviser Trinley Walker said: “To build the homes we need and make our towns attractive for residents and businesses, housing development and transport must go hand in hand.

“Good access to public transport should be an important factor when councils make decisions about where to build houses – yet it often gets side-lined.

“This means that in many towns the potential for regeneration, quality housing and better connected communities is missed.”

The paper highlights the government’s recent NPPF consultation identified 680 commuter hubs suitable for high density development.

It argues that attention can also be given to smaller places like market towns, which delivering connectivity, services, employment and business opportunities for rural communities.
Situating high-density housing near transport hubs can concentrate development on brownfield sites in need of regeneration and increase connectivity to employment centres, says the paper.

This has the potential to make towns more attractive for residents and business, halt damaging urban sprawl and reduce car use and road congestion, it argues.

The paper suggests a number of options to encourage such development.

These include reduced business rates for local businesses and the roll-out of planning tools to help identify suitable locations for development.

The paper calls for higher-density development based around public transport hubs, planned around local services and waking and cycling.

High density development needn’t mean tower blocks in market towns, it says.

Terraced housing and mansion blocks can provide high density homes and preserve the unique character of towns, the paper argues.

‘Making the Link’ is the sixth paper in CPRE’s Housing Foresight series, which aims to provide innovative policy solutions to critical housing issues.”