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Rock looks for rational initiative on green belt

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riba Council discussed developing brownfield land at a lunchtime meeting this week - following a call by institute president David Rock for a lead to be taken. In a prescient position paper, Rock raised a series of questions, including whether tax concessions should be granted in respect of brownfield development, funded by tax penalties on greenfield sites, an idea being considered by deputy pm John Prescott (see story opposite). Other ideas discussed included:

. should parking standards be revised?

. should a greenfield tax be used to pay for infrastructure rather than relying on planning gain agreements?

. should higher buildings be encouraged to house more single people?

. should regional land agencies be formed to make strategic purchases, rather like new town corporations?

. will growth in home-working change attitudes to housing development?

The president wanted to know if the institute should spend resources on tackling this problem and, if so, who should be partners. A report on the discussion will be published next week.

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