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Why I shall not support country house clause

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I shall not be supporting your campaign to save the country house clause in Planning Policy Guidance Note 7 (AJ 22.5.03).

PPG 7 and its successor, PPS 7, are about the protection and economy of the countryside.

I might welcome a welldesigned mansion for a very wealthy person if it came with proposals to manage an area of surrounding countryside with ecologically sound farming and woodland management, creation and safeguarding of habitats for the protection of wildlife, support for rural crafts and industries providing local employment, and some public access primarily to afford educational opportunities for young people. But your campaign says nothing about benefits to the countryside!

Instead, it argues that country houses are necessary to encourage architectural innovation 'providing ideas that have filtered through to mass housing'.

The government indicated its intention to drop this policy from PPG 7 more than two years ago in an answer by the then DETR minister, Beverley Hughes, to a question in the House of Commons.

I don't recall any AJ comment at the time. There has been ample opportunity for those who feel strongly about this to have produced evidence, rather than assertion, to demonstrate how beneficial the policy has been since John Gummer introduced it.Where is this evidence?

Les Sparks, via email

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