Car dependency grows as development spreads

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The Independent Online
Developers are carrying on with the rush out of town, and Britain is becoming more and more car-dependent as a result, the Council for the Protection of Rural England said yesterday.

It published a report which argued that, despite important changes in government planning guidance to local councils - who decide whether to grant or refuse permission for out-of-town developments - building of superstores, cinemas, leisure centres, business parks and housing outside the urban boundary or on its edge still continued.

For instance, at the end of the 1980s, there were 29 multiplex cinemas, in 1995 there were 76 and by 2000 the industry is forecasting at least 130. Many are on the edge of cities with large car parks and can only be easily reached using private cars. Meanwhile, smaller town-centre cinemas such as that in St Albans, are forced to close in the face of the competition. The CPRE report calls for tougher policies from central and local government, including a new tax on business and retail car parking.

Planning More to Travel Less, CPRE, Warwick House, 25 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PP.