The morning was spent going through seven party manifestos to see what the parties (Greens, UKIP, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats, Conservative and Labour) said about brownfield, contamination, housing, green belt and planning.
Helping first time buyers was seen as important – but the mechanisms proposed were very different.
Key common themes were the need for more housing (but not how much), quickly and of good design for both young people and an ageing population.
Brownfield were seen as key sites for development. But I didn’t see much mention of the role of medium rise development in town centres. Such housing is very popular in many cities and towns like Beeston. They reduce car use, increase footfall into local shops (such as the award winning Fred Hallam’s) and foster greater community spirit. UKIP and the Greens want to scrap the National Planning pPolicy fFramework.
Late in the afternoon I was in the audience for the East Midlands Chamber hustings. Representatives of the Green, Liberal Democrat, UKIP, Labour and Conservative parties answered questions in the comfortable surroundings of the Experian offices at NG2. All their manifestos place a great deal of emphasis on housing. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) plays a central role in determining where to build, through its the presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’. I was disappointed therefore that no candidate seemed to have a view on whether we needed guidance on what is UNSUSTAINABLE development, which should be refused planning permission.