A new paper released by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) argues that high-density development near to high-quality public transport services could boost businesses and jobs, create more well-designed homes and build more diverse, exciting communities – all while reducing pressure on the Green Belt and the wider countryside.
CPRE’s ‘Making the Link’ paper builds on emerging changes to Government policy: the Government’s recent NPPF consultation identified 680 commuter hubs suitable for high density development, for example. The paper argues that attention can also be given to smaller places like market towns, which play a hugely important role in rural communities in delivering much needed connectivity, services, employment and business opportunities.
Situating high-density housing near transport hubs can concentrate development on brownfield sites in need of regeneration and increase connectivity to employment centres. This has the potential to make towns more attractive for residents and business, halt damaging urban sprawl and reduce car use and road congestion.
The paper suggests a number of options to encourage such development, such as reduced business rates for local businesses and the roll-out of planning tools to help identify suitable locations for development.
The paper calls for:
Higher-density development based around public transport hubs, planned around local services and waking and cycling.
Quality design: high density development needn’t mean tower blocks in market towns. Terraced housing and mansion blocks can provide high density homes and preserve the unique character of towns.
Diverse communities: developments should provide a mix of housing types for a mix of backgrounds and income levels.
Local services and business: developments should include shops, cafes and offices – providing convenient services for residents and helping local businesses grow. These businesses should benefit from reduced business rates in a similar manner to Enterprise Zones.