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Ditch the rules and look to what people want

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To take Martin Pawley's article a little further, any local plan revision these days appears to be predicated on the notion of something the government likes to call 'sustainability'.

There is little attempt to consider what people actually need, and want. Naturally, the countryside needs new development, like any other part of the UK, in order to survive; and vigorous efforts by the planning system to deny development can only contravene natural justice and economic good sense.

I consider that I am equally justified in saying that low-density, loose-fit industrial and residential development in the countryside to satisfy the needs of rural dwellers, is as, or more, sustainable than high-density, highly serviced development in urban areas. It is also what an increasing number of people aspire to.

Many people will recognise the modern nightmare of new high-density housing estates on the edge of industrial towns, where each breadwinner has a car (seldom less than two per household) and where one breadwinner may travel 50 miles down a motorway each day to a business park, and one breadwinner has to take the children to school(s), go on to a job, collect the children, go to the supermarket, take children on to evening activities etc. Nor can they provide for themselves.

The rural dwellers could do this, too, but also have the option of having workplaces and home close by each other, and of providing for themselves.

Most of us will recognise Brittany as a mainly rural area.

Its people embrace the concept of ribbon development on the outskirts of their villages, where local entrepreneurs can set up in business on an equal footing to their urban competitors. Farmers have always had to be inventive people and are as a result very resourceful. Their skills need to be encouraged at or very near to their homes.

I say cut the crap, look at what is needed and set in place the means of achieving economic regeneration. Ditch the suffocating rulebooks and draw up a loose-fit framework for new and urgent development.

Richard Hewart-Jaboor, Shrewsbury

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