Green belt release 'only way' to tackle housing crisis, says housebuilder

A claim from housebuilder Persimmon that building on green belt land is the 'only way' to solve the UK's housing crisis features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that, speaking as the company reported its third-quarter results on Wednesday, its chief executive Jeff Fairburn said there was "good evidence" to suggest that allowing development of land designed to protect against urban sprawl was the only way to meet housing need. The newspaper quotes Fairburn saying: "I don’t think it is emotive, we’re not talking about building all over green spaces, we’re talking about looking at what would be appropriate and releasing green belt to enhance the local area".

Writing in the Telegraph, the former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine calls for Whitehall reform to better coordinate the government’s delivery of funding and planning for new homes. He writes: "The daily pressures on ministers and the spread of responsibility across Whitehall defy the urgency to coordinate all of these activities and resources under one powerful publicly identified person".

The Guardian reports that conservationists have warned that the "spectacular dunes habitat in Aberdeenshire used by Donald Trump for his £1 billion golf resort is likely to lose its legal protection because his golf course has ruined the site". The newspaper says that "expert ecologists, including one who backed the US president’s original plans for the course of 10 years ago, believe the sand dunes will be stripped of their status as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) by the government’s conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)."

The Times (subscription required) reports that the Victoria & Albert Museum "is to save part of one of the most controversial housing estates ever built". The newspaper says that the museum "said that it would add a substantial section of Robin Hood Gardens to its collection before the estate is destroyed". Robin Hood Gardens, next to the Blackwall Tunnel in east London, was designed in the Brutalist style in the late 1960s.

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