Boles targets open land for development push

Planning minister Nick Boles is to call for the amount of developed land across England to be increased from nine to 12 per cent in order to tackle the country's housing crisis.

Planning minister Nick Boles
Planning minister Nick Boles

According to the BBC, in an interview with its Newsnight programme tonight, Boles will call for more open land to be built on to meet housing demand.  

In a clip of the interview on the BBC website, Boles says: "In the UK and England at the moment we've got about 9% of land developed. All we need to do is build on another 2-3% of land and we'll have solved a housing problem."

Boles says that new housing will not be on green belt but instead focus on "open land". He says: "We’re saying very clearly, that we’re going to protect the green belt, we’re going to keep the green belt. But people, if they want to have housing for their kids, if they want to have people able to bring up their kids in a small house with a garden, they’ve got to accept that we’ve got to build more on some open land".

Asked how many new homes would be built Boles says: "Over time, another million or two million houses. But of course it won’t come all at once."

According to the BBC, Boles describes current housebuilding as "ugly rubbish", and argues that improved design might persuade local communities currently opposed to more development to support further building.

It quotes Boles saying: "The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn't obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open - sometimes buildings are better".

Newsnight is on BBC at 10.30 tonight.

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