Beyond NIMBYism

msbrown at msbrown at
Fri Feb 8 08:36:03 GMT 2002

Response to last e-mail from: "burns_curtis" <john.burns-curtis at> 
Date:  Thu Feb 7, 2002  6:31 pm
Subject:  Re: HELP SAVE DEVON'S COUNTRYSIDE (It is already saved)

>"Since you obviously take the line of the Housebuilders" Federation, 

>"I obviously do not. Do not assume!!!! I am not in favour of a system that 
lines the pockets of large landowners and large developers." 

I apologise!!!! Really sorry for the misunderstanding.  In much of what you 
previously wrote, though there were alot of good facts and figures, and though 
I agreed with your lambasting of NIMBYism, it wasn't immediately clear to me 
what your position was on large developers when you talked about the need for 
increasing house-build massively - until the last 2 sentences which I obviously 
failed to read, where you said:

>>>>> "Houses, especially highly insulated eco houses, are inert. Devon has 
tons of land. Tons of it. Enough to build a city of 1 million and still not 
make an impact on the environment." 

>>I appreciate the substance of what you've said which is fine & dandy as far 
as I’m concerned, but come on  
1 million in Devon! That’s not really very 
realistic, is it?  I take it you plucked that figure from the air as you wrote 

Re:  what you said about Milton Keynes being the model New Town, I have to say 
that if we truly do have to bite the bullet and create a new town somewhere in 
the countryside (so you appear to contradict from what you said earlier about 
Devon), then it should be nothing like Milton Keynes in terms of it’s 
housing!!!  Ugly, legoland monstrosity that it is, due to large mass-build 
housing developers than anything else. I agree with everything else to which 
you refer (e.g. lakes, masses of parks, minimum designations of self-build 
areas ..etc).  That’s all great! 

But what else? A combination of utilising this principle of mixed-use zoning 
and a vigorous criteria-based planning system with strict limits on the size of 
block housing and standards set for environmental standards should happen 
alongside eachother, meaning that community style housing would be using high-
tech eco-design and innovative layout plans such as co-housing with courtyard 
for extended families in future development areas. 

In terms of the Structure Plan of Milton Keynes, the main principles upon which 
Milton Keynes was built (multiple land-use zoning so that there are regular 
facilities and schools, public transport 
etc per zonal areas) is valid.  But 
the opportunity for a new development of large scale now would be potentially 
as revolutionary as it was then, because it could incorporate a set of devolved 
food distribution networks to local areas (cutting down traffic levels – a 
problem in Milton Keynes).  However, in all this discussion, I am mindful of 
the sterile community atmosphere that is possible, since planned communities 
like this are so unnaturally put together, it is inevitable.  In time, that 
does change (when I say this, I am thinking of the new small town/adjoining 
suburb which Prince Charles’ oversaw the architectural plans for – namely 
Poundbury in Dorset).

The new Planning White Paper, which has a lot of dodgy stuff in it (like Fast-
Track Planning of developments which are of “strategic importance”) and some 
good things (such as making plans simpler and a gentle stab of recognition at 
criteria based policies) – should be a hugely historic opportunity to nail down 
this new vision for housing and development – urban and rural. This new 
legislation will already be a pinnacle chapter in planning history; how about 
making it truly great to incorporate really radical and proggresive ideas of 
true sustainable development (see Chapter 7's forthcoming response to the 
Planning White Paper and the Food & Farming Commission's Report, in the next 
Land Is Ours newsletter, next month)   [Chapter-7 is the planning arm of The 
Land Is Ours  - ref: ]. 

You also said: “This market is ripe for expansion to the good of all, instead 
of being in the hands of large land owners/developers. They need cheap 
available land to build on, instead we subsidise landowners to keep land idle.”
“Do not restrict people from freely building where they want to. This keeping 
people out of the countryside in this misguided belief that it will save it has 
gone way too far to the point it is ridiculous. Large landowners, who want to 
hold on to their masses of acres their families have owned for many 100s of 
years, are using this greeny front to their own advantage to great effect. Ever 
thought you may be inadvertently be fighting their corner for them?”

I re-iterate. The only way to save the countryside is put people back it, not 
keep them out of it. Put people first.

Most Forcefully Yours

>>> yes, I agree!!! And see that elsewhere, you recommend that land 
redistribution or LVT would be crucial to making this happen.  Those involved 
in TLIO would largely advocate the former.

Most Purposefully Yours

Mark.S.Brown (TLIO & various other guise & pursuits!)

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