Countryside campaigners have backed Government plans to encourage housing development near transport hubs and reduce pressure on green space.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has published a paper, Making the Link: Integrating land use and transport planning through Public Transport Oriented Development, which it says builds on the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework consultation.
The paper argues that high-density development near to high-quality public transport services ‘could boost businesses and jobs, create more well-designed homes and build more diverse, exciting communities - all while reducing pressure on the Green Belt and the wider countryside’.
It says attention can also be given to smaller places like market towns, ‘which play a hugely important role in rural communities in delivering much needed connectivity, services, employment and business opportunities’.
According to CPRE, situating high-density housing near transport hubs can concentrate development on brownfield sites in need of regeneration and increase connectivity to employment centres, which has the potential to make towns more attractive for residents and business, halt urban sprawl and reduce car use and congestion.
The paper’s author, Trinley Walker, policy and research adviser at the CPRE, said: ‘To build the homes we need and make our towns attractive for residents and businesses, housing development and transport must go hand in hand.
‘Good access to public transport should be an important factor when councils make decisions about where to build houses – yet it often gets side-lined. This means that in many towns the potential for regeneration, quality housing and better connected communities is missed.’
The paper suggests a number of options to encourage such development, such as reduced business rates for local businesses and the roll-out of planning tools to help identify suitable locations for development.
As well as higher-density development based around public transport hubs, the paper calls for:
- Quality design: high density development needn’t mean tower blocks in market towns. Terraced housing and mansion blocks can provide high density homes and preserve the unique character of towns.
- Diverse communities: developments should provide a mix of housing types for a mix of backgrounds and income levels.
- Local services and business: developments should include shops, cafes and offices – providing convenient services for residents and helping local businesses grow. These businesses should benefit from reduced business rates in a similar manner to Enterprise Zones.