Housing crisis solution 'requires radical planning changes'

Claims that a "radical new approach to planning is needed" in order to solve the housing crisis feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times’ chief leader writer Simon Nixon says that the "most plausible explanation" for the cause of the housing crisis "lies in problems with the planning system". He writes: "In Britain’s highly fragmented housing market ... it is almost impossible for developers to assemble substantial plots of land in cities. The result is that they are forced to look to greenfield and brownfield sites where they believe there is a chance of convincing the planners to agree to a change of use." Nixon adds that "a radical new approach to planning is needed, backed up where necessary by workable compulsory purchase orders to enable developers to assemble land for large-scale developments."

A feature in The Guardian looks at how "last mile" delivery - which the piece describes as the "final leg" that a parcel travels from a warehouse to a "bedsit in Birmingham" - is affecting towns and cities. The article says: "Cities are already stretched thin: their streets swarming with regular traffic and new ride-share services, their air degrading, their real estate prices exorbitant. The last mile stresses these resources further still. Big companies buy up land, as Amazon did when it opened two last-mile warehouses in New York City this summer. The vans and trucks of companies such as FedEx, UPS and DHL multiply traffic. And delivery drivers monopolise the side of the road to load and unload their packages. The kerb is the epicentre for the city’s struggles with home delivery."

The Times reports that "planting a hedge around a park can halve the amount of traffic pollution that reaches children as they play, a study has found." The paper says that "a five-month experiment, by scientists from the University of Surrey, measured traffic pollutants on either side of a large hornbeam hedge shielding a children’s park in Guildford." It adds that "researchers recommended that evergreen species be used as the loss of leaves cut the effectiveness of the barrier."

Metro reports that "Kanye West’s plans to build an amphitheatre on his Wyoming ranch might have a slight hold-up as officials are not happy with him starting building work before getting planning permission." The paper says that the rapper "has apparently been told to stop construction after he broke ground on the property without having a permit."

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