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Thread: England's Green and Pleasant Land - BROADBAND RECOMMENDED

  1. #26
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    First I've heard about the Gulf Stream's demise; is that your theory or did some scientist come up with that?
    No, it's quite possible - the rate of current has been slowing for some reason and I don't think anyone has figured out quite why or what will happen next. I seem to recall reading an article about a multi-national scientific study on this.

    I think, for better or worse, we're going to see more skyscraper-type development in the UK in order to accommodate growth, at least within the urban centres. I just hope they do a better job of it than the last time it was seriously attempted. British high-rises from the 1960s have to be some of the worst buildings every put up.

  2. #27
    Continuing my earlier diversion:
    I don't need to watch disaster movies - the office side of conservation work supplies all the doom and gloom for me. I know there have been scientific papers about the future global environmental changes, but for the life of me I can't tell you a good place to look. However, for a real depressing view on these things, just check out the 'prehistoric' geology, etc. I'm surprised those scentists don't get suicidally depressed, but maybe they concentrate on the past so much that they don't realise their statistics should also work in a forward direction...
    With regard to high rise living, check out Park Hill, Sheffield:
    Park Hill photie
    Grade 2 listed
    Background
    It was intended to continue the street communities of the families that were moved there when it was built, but as you can imagine it didn't last long...
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  3. #28
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    I thought it was supposed to be more of a re-routing of the gulf stream. It is glaciers calving on Greenland's west coast and floating south as icebergs that has caused the gulf stream to turn east as it hits the cold meltwater from the icebergs and head to the British Isles. With global warming, they predict, that there wont be as many icebergs heading south to have this turning effect on the gulf stream. A possible scenario is that the gulf stream would continue its northward flow along the North American coast. Presumably that would make the Maritimes warmer. Maybe some shivering limeys would want to move there. As Donk has shown us, real estate is very cheap up there now.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  4. #29

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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Ok you limeys, give us your opinion of this in the context of England's overall environmental health. This topic also appears over at L'Urbanite, http://www.urbanphoto.net/forum/view...p?t=96&start=0, where the doom-and-gloomers see this trend as very nearly the end of the world (the end of England, for sure).
    Blimey! Fighting talk on that forum! For the record I don’t agree with many of the comments shown on that forum.

    The trend of migration to the countryside has been happening in England for many years and will continue to do so. It is partly as a result of the vision of a rural idyll perpetuated by the media and the general public. I am from a village and have my own vision of a rural idyll (on my desk I have a calendar showing lovely pictures of my village, thatched cottages etc). In England, particularly, we have always had this idea of a bucolic stress free countryside life.

    The major problem with this is the pushing up of house prices in these countryside areas. I don’t consider that this necessarily leads to building in the countryside however. In general planning policies governing building in the countryside are very strong, and exceptions can only be made for affordable housing for local people. Of course, it is a problem but it is recognised and policies are being used to help create this affordable housing.

    The planning policies covering housing in this country were radically overhauled in 2001 and several new key items were introduced into national planning policy. The main effect of these policies were the increase of housing density, the promotion of building on previously developed land, and the promotion of good design.

    Housing density is now a vital issue, with new developments expected to be at or above 30 houses to the hectare (and above 50 to the hectare in many urban areas with good transport links) with very few exceptions. The Government even has the power to ‘call in’ any applications in the South East which are at a density below 30 to the hectare.

    New housing is now largely be sited on previously developed land (‘brownfield’ land). The targets for different regions and areas vary, but in general between 60-80% of new housing is expected to be built on brownfield, rather than greenfield land. This policy has helped lead to the regeneration of many urban areas and as the policy is nationwide it has led to a level playing field on land and land values have had to vary accordingly to take into account the possible effect of decontaminating land before building on it (I used to work for a housebuilder).

    The combination of the two policies above and the promotion of good design, together with regeneration grants from central government and Europe has led to some big improvements in many cities across the country. Of course, there are still problems in most cities but generally the picture is far better, I believe, than it was 10 years ago.

    The current government has also done a better job of sharing things around the country. Many regional cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds have experienced varying degrees of regeneration when previously much of the monies available may have spent in London. Some government departments have also moved out to regional areas to help the local economy and regenerate the cities.

    The challenge now is to combine the twin policies of urban regeneration and high density living, without making the same mistakes of the Sixties in creating ‘high rise horrors’ (copyright some Tabloid newspaper)*. A lot of the schemes recently constructed and in the pipeline look pretty good and propose a mixed tenure, which is important. As always, good design will be paramount in making such schemes work. But then again, only time will tell….

    What is for sure is that we need higher density living to work in this country. With the need for housing continuing to grow, due to population increase and primarily the increase in households, there is a big demand for housing. And we are a very crowded island. Inevitably some of this housing is going to have to be built in the countryside. My personal preference when countryside building is required is for new sustainable communities to be built from scratch. Cambourne, near Cambridge is a fairly good example of a recent such community. It has a few problems, such as a lack of a rail link, fairly low density and no pub (?!) but is a fairly good template IMHO.

    I should point out here that I’m not a fan of Labour or many of their policies, but I feel that generally their planning policies have made good sense. There will probably be an election here this year (my guess May) and I dread to think what would happen if the Conservatives were to get in. They’re jumping on every NIMBY bandwagon going at the moment.

    *Incidentally, re Park Hill, and many other nasty tower blocks, I blame Le Corbusier. Okay, I know we were all involved (I’m using the royal ‘we’ here, I wasn’t born!); planners, architects, elected members etc. but you just know that the Park Hill planning application was accompanied with some architects impression drawing of how it would look. And this would involve the sunshine, smiling couples walking hand in hand, children playing and everybody generally looking extremely happy at their own lump of concrete. ‘Streets in the Sky’ has got a lot to answer for…

  5. #30
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Blimey! Fighting talk on that forum! For the record I don’t agree with many of the comments shown on that forum.
    Nor do I, noj. Why don't you register over there and tell 'em what you think.

  6. #31

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    Quote Originally posted by noj

    The current government has also done a better job of sharing things around the country. Many regional cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds have experienced varying degrees of regeneration when previously much of the monies available may have spent in London. Some government departments have also moved out to regional areas to help the local economy and regenerate the cities.
    There was an excellent photo survey of Leeds posted on the city's site that makes that city, at least, look quite impressive. Some quite nice projects, with street scenes and quality of urban design and furnishings that almost any medium size American or Canadian city would envy. Is it simply that Britain has better craftsmanship? I've read that American construction quality is the worst in the developed world, with a get-it-done-cheaply-and-shoddily attitude that is reflected in our built environment. (More doom and gloom? Perhaps).

    I'm a big fan of Satanic Mills-type cities as well (a willful ignorance of the social horrors in favor of the monumental arrogance of the red brick cityscape??) Manchester, I've read, is coming quite alive again, and I'm happy to read about the innovative reuse of the old mills.

  7. #32

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    Manchester is very vibrant at the moment, and has been for the last ten years or so. Urban Splash are one of the most prominent regeneration companies who have specialised in reusing mills, mostly in the North West.

    If you're into satanic mills, then I actually live within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, no less. See Derby council site and also 'Derbyshire - the peak district site' (probably better) for details. Masson Mill has been converted into shopping, but actually has been done quite well; retains most original features including some floors, and has museum. The orginal Arkwright Mill is a two minute walk from my house and is slowly being done up sympathetically, after being virtually derelict in the 1970s.

    ablarc - Nor do I, noj. Why don't you register over there and tell 'em what you think.
    . Following your advice, I've done precisely that.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    No, it's quite possible - the rate of current has been slowing for some reason and I don't think anyone has figured out quite why or what will happen next. I seem to recall reading an article about a multi-national scientific study on this.

    I think, for better or worse, we're going to see more skyscraper-type development in the UK in order to accommodate growth, at least within the urban centres. I just hope they do a better job of it than the last time it was seriously attempted. British high-rises from the 1960s have to be some of the worst buildings every put up.
    Much of the gulf streams action is based on energy transfer..Actually, it's the only reason we have weather. With the Gulf Stream, the differential between ocean temps in the arctic and the tropics (along with the earths rotation) causes the clockwise circulation in the Atlantic Ocean. We appear to be in a phase of climate shift where the average global temperature is on the increase. Most noted are the impressive average temperature increases in the polar regions. Temperatures in the equatorial regions havn't increased as much and in some observations have declined.

    As the differential narrows, the strength of the currents decline and the gulf stream energy conveyer system breaks down.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #34

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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Manchester is very vibrant at the moment, and has been for the last ten years or so. Urban Splash are one of the most prominent regeneration companies who have specialised in reusing mills, mostly in the North West.

    If you're into satanic mills, then I actually live within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, no less. See Derby council site and also 'Derbyshire - the peak district site' (probably better) for details. Masson Mill has been converted into shopping, but actually has been done quite well; retains most original features including some floors, and has museum. The orginal Arkwright Mill is a two minute walk from my house and is slowly being done up sympathetically, after being virtually derelict in the 1970s.

    . Following your advice, I've done precisely that.
    Awesome! I know that it's easy to romanticize the old mills. But, think-will future generations be rhapsodizing about concrete tilt up junk spread in our current industrial "parks"? I think not. (But then, maybe I'm wrong: "Live in the Historic Lofts at Bypass WalMart Distribution Center" )

  10. #35

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    kind of related to the original thread....

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/n...re/4186391.stm

    This sort of thing is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in a bid to try to stop second and holiday homes. Some of the villages in the Dales have 50% of their homes owned by 'outsiders' who only visit during the holiday season or at weekends.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    As wealth gravitates upward, and as mobility increases and geographic location diminishes in its importance to work, the world's beauty spots are being snapped up by the mobile rich, mostly for second homes. Such diverse but charming places as New York's West Village, Charleston, Portofino, Carmel, San Francisco, Boston, Brooklyn et al. are all getting priced into the stratosphere for all but the super-rich, who often own half-a-dozen or more homes around the globe.

    Supply and demand is at work here; to bring the prices down, we obviously need to build more beauty spots.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    There was an excellent photo survey of Leeds posted on the city's site that makes that city, at least, look quite impressive. Some quite nice projects, with street scenes and quality of urban design and furnishings that almost any medium size American or Canadian city would envy. Is it simply that Britain has better craftsmanship? I've read that American construction quality is the worst in the developed world, with a get-it-done-cheaply-and-shoddily attitude that is reflected in our built environment. (More doom and gloom? Perhaps).
    Leeds is a nice enough place. Totally weird in certain ways (like how most of the city is north of the city centre), but has some nice instances of real planning.

    I'm a big fan of Satanic Mills-type cities as well (a willful ignorance of the social horrors in favor of the monumental arrogance of the red brick cityscape??) Manchester, I've read, is coming quite alive again, and I'm happy to read about the innovative reuse of the old mills.
    I'm a fan of Satanic Mills-type cities too. I also happen to live in one (although it was more dark Satanic smithys and jewellers' round here).

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    The trend of migration to the countryside has been happening in England for many years and will continue to do so. It is partly as a result of the vision of a rural idyll perpetuated by the media and the general public. I am from a village and have my own vision of a rural idyll (on my desk I have a calendar showing lovely pictures of my village, thatched cottages etc). In England, particularly, we have always had this idea of a bucolic stress free countryside life.

    The major problem with this is the pushing up of house prices in these countryside areas. I don’t consider that this necessarily leads to building in the countryside however. In general planning policies governing building in the countryside are very strong, and exceptions can only be made for affordable housing for local people. Of course, it is a problem but it is recognised and policies are being used to help create this affordable housing.
    The migration to the country is also caused by the price of houses in London and Birmingham. How long is it until someone realises that the green belt policy has not worked?

    The planning policies covering housing in this country were radically overhauled in 2001 and several new key items were introduced into national planning policy. The main effect of these policies were the increase of housing density, the promotion of building on previously developed land, and the promotion of good design.
    Not far enough. We need real local government before we can get anything done.

    Housing density is now a vital issue, with new developments expected to be at or above 30 houses to the hectare (and above 50 to the hectare in many urban areas with good transport links) with very few exceptions. The Government even has the power to ‘call in’ any applications in the South East which are at a density below 30 to the hectare.
    And our transport system may be better than Amtrak, but it's still not good enough. Nevertheless, the government don't seem to know what they're doing to sort it out. To date, we have no Brumderground and no King's Line.

    New housing is now largely be sited on previously developed land (‘brownfield’ land). The targets for different regions and areas vary, but in general between 60-80% of new housing is expected to be built on brownfield, rather than greenfield land. This policy has helped lead to the regeneration of many urban areas and as the policy is nationwide it has led to a level playing field on land and land values have had to vary accordingly to take into account the possible effect of decontaminating land before building on it (I used to work for a housebuilder).
    It's also led to some very silly developments. Look at the sites of the former mental hospitals in Epsom, Surrey, and you'll see that the developers have been allowed to develop the hospital sites, but not the wasteland alongside them. The other problem with this kind of redevelopment is thatr the little strips left for public transport infrastructure get built on, limiting our further capacity for development.

    The current government has also done a better job of sharing things around the country. Many regional cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds have experienced varying degrees of regeneration when previously much of the monies available may have spent in London. Some government departments have also moved out to regional areas to help the local economy and regenerate the cities.
    The current government doesn't care about Birmingham. They don't even care about real Londoners. Instead they waste taxpayers' money on schemes to benefit Canary Wharf SCAs trying to get to Airports. Then there's their diversion of billions of pounds to Defence, which really should be cut seeing as the only countries we border are also in the EU.

    The challenge now is to combine the twin policies of urban regeneration and high density living, without making the same mistakes of the Sixties in creating ‘high rise horrors’ (copyright some Tabloid newspaper)*. A lot of the schemes recently constructed and in the pipeline look pretty good and propose a mixed tenure, which is important. As always, good design will be paramount in making such schemes work. But then again, only time will tell….
    The problem with the 60s view of densification was the leap from 2 to 12 storeys. Without intermediate densities, it was bound to look strange. Also, someone seems to have forgotten what a street was about then.

    What is for sure is that we need higher density living to work in this country. With the need for housing continuing to grow, due to population increase and primarily the increase in households, there is a big demand for housing. And we are a very crowded island. Inevitably some of this housing is going to have to be built in the countryside. My personal preference when countryside building is required is for new sustainable communities to be built from scratch. Cambourne, near Cambridge is a fairly good example of a recent such community. It has a few problems, such as a lack of a rail link, fairly low density and no pub (?!) but is a fairly good template IMHO.
    Unfortunately, the lack of rail links is the key weakness in this country. With the Ministry of Transport's mandarins hell-bent on roads and the rail industry having been splintered to the extent of everyone billing eachother, costs escalating, and no effective leadership, planning seems to effectively ignore railways. This weakness goes back a long way. If you ever read any of Abercrombie's plans, it quickly becomes clear that he has no idea on railways.

    I should point out here that I’m not a fan of Labour or many of their policies, but I feel that generally their planning policies have made good sense. There will probably be an election here this year (my guess May) and I dread to think what would happen if the Conservatives were to get in. They’re jumping on every NIMBY bandwagon going at the moment.
    I'm going to vote Lib Dem for the first time ever. The Tory bandwaggons have now gone too far - their immigration policy at least is sheer populism and contrary to all economic sense.

    *Incidentally, re Park Hill, and many other nasty tower blocks, I blame Le Corbusier. Okay, I know we were all involved (I’m using the royal ‘we’ here, I wasn’t born!); planners, architects, elected members etc. but you just know that the Park Hill planning application was accompanied with some architects impression drawing of how it would look. And this would involve the sunshine, smiling couples walking hand in hand, children playing and everybody generally looking extremely happy at their own lump of concrete. ‘Streets in the Sky’ has got a lot to answer for…
    We shouldn't demonise Jeanneret. There's a lot of good in his books, although you have to be nearly as mad as him to be able to read them.

  14. #39
    jimi_d's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Journeymouse
    [*]The area usually described as 'Home Counties' will spread to include most of England,
    At any sensible density, that is absurd. At the current density of Greater London, you could fit the population of the EU into the Thames basin. Remember that for each mile you get further away from the centre, the area of the circle you've extended by is larger.

    It's not really a difficult to come up with any of the above. The UK has a big population and its getting bigger. It doesn't even have to be very depressing if it's done properly.
    It's not growing at anything near worrying rates. In fact, a population rise is in our economic interests.

    This lowland 'Home Counties' is more than likely to get flooded within the next 20 to 50 years, due to the aggravated climate change and rising sea levels that we've brought on ourselves. This means people are going to have to move - but will they and can they? A lot of South Wales are also going to suffer from this, being a relatively low-lying area, which means the SE Wales expansion will flood, too.
    Have you any idea how mountainous South Wales is? Yes, there are valleys, but they are quite steep. You should look at the gradient profiles of some of the railways round there. GWR men used to joke about the geographical coincidence of one particular line ending by the Abergavenny Lunatic Asylum.

    The 'South East' and increasingly the 'Home Counties' suffer highly elevated living costs in relation to the rest of Britain. At some point, these will crash. It will probably because the people who perform the 'menial', low wage jobs can no longer afford to live there, which they're pushing towards now.
    That is a real fear. At the very least we'll end up very quickly in mediaeval levels of deprivation.

    Although we're regionalising to some degree, the main government functions are still in London. Unless they plan on moving, these functions are likely to be destroyed or at least forcibly removed when the above combine. The Welsh Assembly is probably going to suffer a similar fate in Cardiff (South Wales).
    I sure wouldn't mind taking power away from Whitehall.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    I'd like to point out that countryside in England (taken as an average) is far more dense than countryside here, hence the rail connections. It's almost a misnomer to call it rural. Things are quite structured and populous.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally posted by jimi_d
    Have you any idea how mountainous South Wales is? Yes, there are valleys, but they are quite steep. You should look at the gradient profiles of some of the railways round there. GWR men used to joke about the geographical coincidence of one particular line ending by the Abergavenny Lunatic Asylum.
    I'd like to think I have a fair idea, having been out in it a time or two . However, I bet the valleys themselves, where the majority of the development, is aren't over 50m above sea level and that is what it's going to need to be to survive a decent melt. A lot of the highground is scarcly useable because it is so steep.

    What scares me most about the population spread into the British countryside is not the density. Or rather it is. If everyone wants their acre of the 'Good Life', then it's a pretty quick way of ending up in densities that make providing things public transport economically unviable. Much like the villages in the Home Counties that are only half miles apart, but have little transport beyond private cars between them. (Incidentally, the villages that I grew up in in Humberside were similar but seperated by several miles.) Also, in these villages, services such as shops, post offices and pubs are closing all the time, because they can't get enough money to stay open. From an economic point of view, this is a good thing. From a social and environmental point of view it is a minor disaster. The economic argument is not necessarily the only argument, it is just people tend to assume it is because it gives the immediate, short term benefits.

    Finally, I agree, power from Whitehall is a good thing - we just need alternative power bases set up before the crash.

    At this point, I would like to point out that I am not stockpiling food or weaponry, or for that matter building a shelter in a remote place, to escape/prepare myself for the bad times. I'm not sure I could say that if I had the money and the contacts, tho'...
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  17. #42

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    Originally quoted by jimid: The migration to the country is also caused by the price of houses in London and Birmingham. How long is it until someone realises that the green belt policy has not worked?
    That’s a very big statement to make against what is probably the most popular planning policy around (in the minds of the general public anyway). There have been negative impacts of the Green Belt policy, but what would have happened without it? In one word, sprawl. I realise there is an argument which says that the sprawl has just happened on the outer edge of the circle, instead of on the edge of the city and has therefore increased journey times and car movements.

    Not far enough. We need real local government before we can get anything done.
    I agree, but credit where credit is due. The fact is that the planning system is still trying to recover from the virtual decimation of the profession during the Thatcher years. We’re getting there slowly, but surely. And unfortunately following the rejection of Regional Government in the North East, ‘real local government ‘ is further off now.

    And our transport system may be better than Amtrak, but it's still not good enough. Nevertheless, the government don't seem to know what they're doing to sort it out. To date, we have no Brumderground and no King's Line.
    I agree. We desperately need proper funding of public transport, and especially trains. Again, a lot of this stems from the privatisation of the railways by Thatcher.

    It's also led to some very silly developments. Look at the sites of the former mental hospitals in Epsom, Surrey, and you'll see that the developers have been allowed to develop the hospital sites, but not the wasteland alongside them. The other problem with this kind of redevelopment is that the little strips left for public transport infrastructure get built on, limiting our further capacity for development.
    There are always negative points to every policy and ‘bad’ development can always be found to cite to advance your cause. Generally, however, IMO it was and is a necessary policy.

    The current government doesn't care about Birmingham. They don't even care about real Londoners. Instead they waste taxpayers' money on schemes to benefit Canary Wharf SCAs trying to get to Airports. Then there's their diversion of billions of pounds to Defence, which really should be cut seeing as the only countries we border are also in the EU.
    I agree on the Defence issue. The current government, as all Government, cares about its power, and where its votes are going to come from.

    I'm going to vote Lib Dem for the first time ever. The Tory bandwaggons have now gone too far - their immigration policy at least is sheer populism and contrary to all economic sense.
    I’m going to vote tactically, as always. The Tories are not a viable alternative and there are too many remnants of the Thatcher years. Speaking professionally as a planner, and personally as someone who has a lot of family in the South Yorkshire coal fields, I simply cannot stomach voting Conservative because of these memories.

    We shouldn't demonise Jeanneret. There's a lot of good in his books, although you have to be nearly as mad as him to be able to read them.
    LOL. Very true. I just look at the pictures.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    That development you linked, Cambourne, looks much nicer than the average developments we have here. Maybe they composed their photos of the houses carefully, but none of the views seemed to have identical houses. Another thing I noticed is that the houses look more settled and solid. Maybe its the heavy use of brick and other masonry. They also seem to use larger trees and shrubs. Most of the new developments in the US tend to look more raw. Is that considered an upper-income project?
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    That’s a very big statement to make against what is probably the most popular planning policy around (in the minds of the general public anyway). There have been negative impacts of the Green Belt policy, but what would have happened without it? In one word, sprawl. I realise there is an argument which says that the sprawl has just happened on the outer edge of the circle, instead of on the edge of the city and has therefore increased journey times and car movements.
    And each of those places beyond the greenbelt is totally car-dependent, has no decent local facilities, etc. Just the sort of place you'd want to stick the young, the old, and the poor. Then the other effect of the green belt policy is to discourage development, resulting in cities which are too expensive for the young and the poor to live in. Then prices rise, living standards fall, DIY doomsday kinda thing - it's well on the way to wrecking London and Birmingham. The effect is exactly the same as the mediaeval city wall - economically speaking, it's part of a poor-be-damned, closed-shop, low growth culture.

    Green belts are popular as a policy simply because they are universally understood. They are overly simplistic as a concept. Furthermore, they are geometrically unsound. A far more efficient ratio of green frontier to surface area is to allow the green space to hold the inside of the geometrical figure and allow development around all sides of it. Of course the average city park, consisting of a field, three trees, and a dilapidated tennis court, is totally inadequate as a natural habitat as well as a recreation area. We should be looking to larger expanses of nature. Take, for instance, Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, north Birmingham. It is totally surrounded by town, but nevertheless it contains an SSSI, a whole range of natural habitats, and wild animals ranging from voles to horses. Not bad for 2,800 acres. A similar area stretched around Birmingham's would have very little depth and mainly consist of monocultural poor to medium quality agriculture.

    If we look at the six objectives of green belt land use (PPG2 1.6), 2,000-acre plus packets of truly useful green space seem a far better idea than a belt of poor quality countryside. These are

    1 - to provide opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population;
    2 - to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas;
    3 - to retain attractive landscapes, and enhance landscapes, near to where people live;

    All of which are equally fulfilled by large green spaces inside towns to a greater extent than a remote belt.

    4 - to improve damaged and derelict land around towns;

    Really contradicts the idea of the green belt - green belts allow wasteful dereliction as demand for agriculture falls and demand for urbanism increases.

    5 - to secure nature conservation interest; and

    Again, equally compatible with bringing the green space within the urban fabric.

    6 - to retain land in agricultural, forestry and related uses.

    This is bound to be a failure. If the demand is not there for agriculture, it won't be economic regardless. With British agriculture more efficient than ever, we are operating at a subsidised surplus. We need more urbanites to consume the farms' produce. You cannot buck the market, remember.

    The designation of green belts is based on even more dubious criteria, however. The lack of relation to the lands fitness for purpose is really quite astounding. From PPG2 1.5:

    1 - to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;

    This would be far better done by being descriptive about what may and may not be built in urban areas. Green belts merely direct the market to socially brutal ends.

    2 - to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;

    This is a joke. The only sense in which Redditch is not part of Birmingham is that there are a few natty fields in between. Economically and socially, the metropolis shall prevail. Trying to halt development to preserve some "Deep England" is doomed - these guys should stick to sentimentalist fiction.

    3 - to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;

    Wow, descriptivism at its best. Yes, that's what a green belt does, but it isn't a reason. Also, note the emotive language. These guys would get a U in Philosophy.

    4 - to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and

    Special character as far as socio-economic distinctness has already gone. Otherwise, ever heard of listed buildings? As for setting, it is best to direct planners to use their artistic judgement sympathetically rather than tie their hands (tools such as conservation areas are more appropriate here). There are some beautiful mediaeval village settings within our towns - look at Yardley, Birmingham.

    5 - to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

    Sequential development does not require green belts. Sometimes a relocation onto green land will free up brown land for further development. Flexibility is a must.

    I agree, but credit where credit is due. The fact is that the planning system is still trying to recover from the virtual decimation of the profession during the Thatcher years. We’re getting there slowly, but surely. And unfortunately following the rejection of Regional Government in the North East, ‘real local government ‘ is further off now.
    Thatcher was dangerous. She had some very good ideas and more sensible people were very slow to hi-jack them and therefore her danger was left unchecked.

    As for Labour's regions, they are a half-baked, one-size-fits-all approach to local government, typically based on higher electoral boundaries. I do not know the North-East well enough to comment, but the West Midland Region as proposed consists of at least four real regions (namely Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke, and the rural Welsh Marches), the combination of which neuters the prospective purpose of any of them. Nor does it look like any real power is in the deal. It seems to be more a matter of taking from the City Council than taking from Whitehall.

    I agree. We desperately need proper funding of public transport, and especially trains. Again, a lot of this stems from the privatisation of the railways by Thatcher.
    It was Major, but privatisation was definitely a bad thing - to think they didn't learn after the mess they made of the Corporation Buses.

    (on crazy definition of brownfield sites)
    There are always negative points to every policy and ‘bad’ development can always be found to cite to advance your cause. Generally, however, IMO it was and is a necessary policy.
    It's definitely a policy improvement, but it needs tweaking to stop more silly applications of it.

    I agree on the Defence issue. The current government, as all Government, cares about its power, and where its votes are going to come from.
    Well, I didn't vote for them, so I suppose I'm no loss to them.

    I’m going to vote tactically, as always. The Tories are not a viable alternative and there are too many remnants of the Thatcher years. Speaking professionally as a planner, and personally as someone who has a lot of family in the South Yorkshire coal fields, I simply cannot stomach voting Conservative because of these memories.
    I can't forgive them for abolishing University College Cardiff. I mean, I wanted a Fellowship!!!!

    (on the unreadability of Le Corbusier)
    LOL. Very true. I just look at the pictures.
    He was quite an artist. Although he was totally barking, I found his writings very thought-provoking and, if nothing else, they improved my French. I often wonder what a Hegelian synthesis of Jeanneret and Kevin Lynch would be like!

  20. #45
    jimi_d's avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Birmingham, England
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    If you're into satanic mills, then I actually live within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, no less. See Derby council site and also 'Derbyshire - the peak district site' (probably better) for details. Masson Mill has been converted into shopping, but actually has been done quite well; retains most original features including some floors, and has museum. The orginal Arkwright Mill is a two minute walk from my house and is slowly being done up sympathetically, after being virtually derelict in the 1970s.
    WOW!!! And there's a great bookshop in Cromford!!! (You lucky sod for living in such a great part of the country.)

    Anyway, I've often wondered how they got away with Masson. It seems to fly in the face of Planning Policy (for instance, look at PPG6 1.8ff).

  21. #46
    jimi_d's avatar
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    Birmingham, England
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    Quote Originally posted by Journeymouse
    I'd like to think I have a fair idea, having been out in it a time or two . However, I bet the valleys themselves, where the majority of the development, is aren't over 50m above sea level and that is what it's going to need to be to survive a decent melt. A lot of the highground is scarcly useable because it is so steep.
    Parts of Cwm Rhondda are over 200m above sea level. Of course, Cwm Nedd would be totally screwed (I can just imagine the denizens of Neath running up the Cimla)! You lose some, you draw some, as the Cardiff City fan said.

    What scares me most about the population spread into the British countryside is not the density. Or rather it is. If everyone wants their acre of the 'Good Life', then it's a pretty quick way of ending up in densities that make providing things public transport economically unviable. Much like the villages in the Home Counties that are only half miles apart, but have little transport beyond private cars between them. (Incidentally, the villages that I grew up in in Humberside were similar but seperated by several miles.) Also, in these villages, services such as shops, post offices and pubs are closing all the time, because they can't get enough money to stay open. From an economic point of view, this is a good thing. From a social and environmental point of view it is a minor disaster. The economic argument is not necessarily the only argument, it is just people tend to assume it is because it gives the immediate, short term benefits.
    Strictly speaking, economics isn't a matter of good or bad - it's amoral. You just have to guide society towards using the market as good citizens would.

    At this point, I would like to point out that I am not stockpiling food or weaponry, or for that matter building a shelter in a remote place, to escape/prepare myself for the bad times. I'm not sure I could say that if I had the money and the contacts, tho'...
    Don't weirdoes do that kinda thing in the American West?

  22. #47
    Quote Originally posted by jimi_d
    Don't weirdoes do that kinda thing in the American West?
    I claim societal osmosis - I spend waaaaaaaaaaay to much time escaping into online games. And World of Warcraft is better than the tv adverts...
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  23. #48

    Registered
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    Quote Originally posted by jimi_d
    WOW!!! And there's a great bookshop in Cromford!!! (You lucky sod for living in such a great part of the country.)

    Anyway, I've often wondered how they got away with Masson. It seems to fly in the face of Planning Policy (for instance, look at PPG6 1.8ff).
    Thanks very much! My commute isn’t that nice, but it makes it all worthwhile coming home for the last 10 minutes through Crich etc. It is a very nice part of the country and the bookshop is very good too! Keep meaning to take some pictures of Cromford and put them up, I’ll get round to it soon.

    I know what you mean about Masson; my main thoughts are that it was possibly granted permission prior to 1996 (quite possible, given the pace of many things around here), or alternatively that the benefits on restoring the listed building and returning it to a active and viable use outweighed the other planning considerations.

    Arkwright/Cromford Mill is coming on slowly but surely. Suffered a big set back last year when some numbskull in a lorry ran into an attached cast iron aqueduct. The Grade I listed aqueduct was put up in 1821 to carry water to a water wheel driving the mill. As far as I know nothing happened to the lorry driver; there’s loads of signs warning of height restrictions etc, but he just walked away after destroying a piece of history

  24. #49
    jimi_d's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Thanks very much! My commute isn’t that nice,
    Well you can't put decent roads through that scenery now... I shudder to think what it must've been like when the A6 was *the* main road from London (okay, Barnet) to Manchester.

    but it makes it all worthwhile coming home for the last 10 minutes through Crich etc.
    Ah, the trams!

    It is a very nice part of the country and the bookshop is very good too! Keep meaning to take some pictures of Cromford and put them up, I’ll get round to it soon.
    You should! And show everyone the bit of Masson they turned into a MSCP!

    Arkwright/Cromford Mill is coming on slowly but surely. Suffered a big set back last year when some numbskull in a lorry ran into an attached cast iron aqueduct. The Grade I listed aqueduct was put up in 1821 to carry water to a water wheel driving the mill. As far as I know nothing happened to the lorry driver; there’s loads of signs warning of height restrictions etc, but he just walked away after destroying a piece of history
    Should be hanged, drawn, and quartered if you ask me... As for the signage there, there's rather a lot of it - ISTR that the street's even got two names!

  25. #50
    Stepping in a bit late here... I want to thank ablarc for another beautiful post, as always. And it sounds crazy, but those photos started to bring me to tears somewhere in the middle of it. 8`-|

    Gotta get out of this inhuman, sprawl-infested, unwalkable, community-less place.

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