The Land Trust welcomes ambition of Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission report

12th February 2020

The Land Trust has welcomed the findings of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. The report, titled ‘Living with Beauty: Promoting health, well-being and sustainable growth’ sets out key recommendations in the following areas:

  • Planning
  • Communities
  • Stewardship
  • Regeneration
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Nature
  • Education and skills
  • Management

Land Trust Chief Executive, Euan Hall, said:

“At the Land Trust we welcome the findings of this report and we are particularly encouraged to see the focus on regeneration and responsible stewardship.

“With the demand for new housing at an all-time high there are so many examples of development schemes that have been rushed through the planning system and then abandoned by the developer once the final home has been sold with no plan for the future stewardship of the site.

“Through our own work at the Land Trust we know that appointing a responsible body, who have the long term interests of the site at heart, is absolutely key to making these new communities great places to live, work and play for years and decades into the future.”

The report proposes a new development and planning framework which will:

  • Ask for Beauty
  • Refuse Ugliness
  • Promote Stewardship

It states that ‘our built environment and our natural environment belong together. Both should be protected and enhanced for the long-term benefit of the communities that depend on them. Settlements should be renewed, regenerated and cared for, and we should end the scandal of left-behind places, where derelict buildings and vandalised public spaces drive people away. New developments should be regenerative, enhancing their environment and adding to the health, sustainability and biodiversity of their context. For too long now we have been exploiting and spoiling our country. The time has come to enhance and care for it instead.’

Hall added:

“The recommendations in the report are ambitious but they needed to be. In the modern world new housing schemes need to be about so much more than simply bricks and mortar.

“Due consideration and thought must be given to the natural environment and the green spaces within a development as we know it is these areas that build community cohesion, turn houses into homes and neighbours into friends.

“They also protect, and often enhance, the investment people make in their homes, promote local tourism and stimulate the economy, deliver physical and mental health benefits for residents and local people and provide education and training opportunities.”

Hall also re-iterated that responsible stewardship will help house builders meet the challenges posed by biodiversity net gain principles.

“The report doesn’t focus on biodiversity net gain but the principles outlined in this report align with the challenges of ensuring that new developments enhance an area for wildlife and biodiversity. In a time of climate crisis it is vital that that housebuilding sector takes its responsibilities in this area seriously and work with bodies like the Land Trust to ensure that our environment continues to thrive while meeting the challenge of building the new homes that are so desperately needed.”

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