Letter: 'Tower block ghettoes': a coherent housing policy is the only answer

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The Independent Online
Sir: It was heartening to hear John Major's commitment to tackling the "concrete wastelands" of our inner cities (27 April), but sadly there was too little sign of any new Government initiatives.

The Prime Minister could do no better than to remember the words of his Government's own environmental strategy, that "sustainable development within urban areas is closely bound up with the quality of urban life". In a country where we are urbanising an area of countryside the size of Bristol every year and 300 people are leaving our big cities every day, there would be clear benefits to both town and country from a more positive approach to urban living.

What is needed is a clear sense of direction for planning and policy which can make the best use of financial, human and environmental resources to stimulate local action to improve the quality of our city environments. Only the government can provide this. A national statement of planning policies for our urban areas is one element needed to fill the vacuum. The UK could hardly make a better contribution to the United Nations City Summit in Istanbul next year than to have shown it is actively putting its own house in order.

Yours sincerely,

TONY BURTON

Senior Planner

Council for the Protection of Rural England

London, SW1

27 April

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