Homes versus Open Spaces

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According to the homeless charity Crisis, the average age of death for people experiencing homelessness is 46 for men and 42 for women. The charity calls on the Government to scrap the Vagrancy Act, which makes rough sleeping and begging illegal in England and Wales. Instead of giving homeless people the help they need, this criminalises them.

Part of the solution to homelessness is to increase the supply of good quality affordable accommodation for the people that need it. The National Planning Policy Framework states that where major development includes the provision of housing, at least 10% of the housing provided should be for affordable home ownership, subject to some exceptions.

Local authorities identify suitable sites for new housing in their Development Plans. Sites which have not been specifically identified as available in the Local Plan process are called "windfall sites". Conflicts of interest are evidenced when planning applications to build new homes occur in already densely populated areas where there is an absence of public open space such as parks and recreation grounds. Division of an existing private garden to squeeze in an extra house is known as "garden grabbing".

Residents often become protective when greenfield development is proposed. This is building on land which has never been built on before. The acronym "NIMBY" is often used to describe people who campaign against new development near their homes. It stands for "Not In My Back Yard". Some people take the view that any new home is a plus whether it is affordable or not.

-----© Ted Power