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A Government agenda to help builders build on the best bits of land, often at the expense of amenity and heritage, is all too evident. It’s based on the claim that it’s the only available way to mend the economy (something that economists say is untrue) and that there are insufficient brownfield sites to build on (something their own figures suggest is wrong).

Up to now, the building industry has gone along with it (why wouldn’t they!) but now someone has broken ranks: “Soil stabilisation/solidification is a most effective way to bring brownfield land back into productive use” says Al McDermid, Chairman of the Britpave Soil Stabilisation Task Group (See here). “Soil stabilisation/solidification could help bring this land back into use and so negate the need to dig up our ancient woodlands” [and, he might have added, Green spaces and the settings of monuments]. “According to the Campaign to Protect Rural England, government figures show that the amount of brownfield land becoming available for re-development is far outstripping the rate at which is it being used. There is enough for 1.5 million new homes.”

In 2011 the Government issued a “Mythbusting document” saying the  National Planning Policy Framework is not a developers charter : “The presumption in favour of sustainable development  is not a green light for development….. Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other designated land will retain the protections they enjoy today.” That’s not quite how it is seen in Oswestry. There was no question of development round the Hill Fort previously.


February 2014

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