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Planning procedures fail to see human suffering

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Having this morning perused Brian Waters' article in the AJ (27.7.02), I must say it is disappointing. Waters is arguing for more intensification of our cities without considering the effect on the people who live there.

In the 1960s many good lowrise properties were demolished and high-rise intensive properties were built. They have proved unpopular, and many such projects have been demolished after approximately 30 years and replaced with more traditional construction.

Waters' article does nothing to address the human issues which many local authorities have had to deal with such as crime, vandalism and aggressive behaviour of people living in such a difficult and close proximity of each other.

Waters fails to mention that land in this country was first protected for agriculture after this country had been at war and food production was a major issue. This is not the case now.

There are large areas of underused farming land which is now protected by a group or organisation who act under the banner of environmentalists, most of whom have been hijacked by people whose sympathies lie within bureaucracy and have trade union tendencies.

I say this simply because their arguments are about control. If local authorities are required to rebuild low-cost houses, they need departments to control their properties. Trade unions hate the motor car because it gives people freedom to move about. If we do not use the buses and trains, then the strike action becomes less effective and the unions become less important.

No mention was made of maintenance of high-rise property and the high cost of repairs, and how quickly high-rise developments become run down.

How pompous to state that mixed development built intensively would be the kind of places where people would like to live and work. If this was the case, then lifting all planning restrictions, with no development control whatsoever, would again see beautiful towns appear, with parks and open spaces, along with individuals building better homes in places they wanted to live, as was the case before planning was controlled.

The sort of thinking Waters promotes has had a detrimental effect on the human soul by inflicting hardship. Through control, there is a lack of decent affordable properties, with a life of toil to pay off a mortgage with considerable human suffering along the way, all caused by the severity of our planning procedures and the thinking of organisations like Waters' own.

Robert Williams, via e-mail

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