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Rogers hits out against ‘fundamentally flawed’ planning reform

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Richard Rogers has hit out against the government’s proposed overhaul of the planning system claiming it could merge cities and ‘scar the countryside for generations’

The figurehead of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners told The Times that the ambitious policy shake-up - namely the proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) - could see Bristol and Bath join together in ‘one urban sprawl’. He told the newspaper he feared London could end up looking like Los Angeles and areas like Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District could lose their character.

He said: ‘If the framework is not greatly improved it will lead to the breakdown and fragmentation of cities and neighbourhoods as well as the erosion of the countryside.’

He also emphasised the need to repair ‘derelict buildings, old factories, shops and dead space’, and warned that urban sprawl was ‘much more energy intensive’.

The architect is one of the most high profile built environment players to have fired warning shots to government policy makers over the reform which aims to establish a presumption in favour of sustainable development and simplify the planning system. Rogers previously threatened to oppose the bill in the Lords for failing to properly define the presumption.

We can’t sacrifice the country for that, and this won’t even kick start the economy

Environmental groups have led the charge against the policy but Rogers has now come out and said it was ‘fundamentally flawed’ and needed rethinking.

Rogerssaid: ‘Planning should not be about short-term finances – we are talking about the next few hundred years, not the next few years. We can’t sacrifice the country for that, and this won’t even kick start the economy.’

He added: ‘We need well-run cities that are well built, well connected, compact, with great transport, without sprawl, with good poor-rich mix, good public spaces, good design, varied shopping, mixed living and working.’

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