Letter: Town and country

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The Independent Online
YOUR call to think about town and country together is well targeted. They are two sides of the same coin and nobody will benefit from trying to drive a wedge between them. Better protection for and wider access to the countryside will allow everyone to enjoy the best of the rural environment. And curbing the sprawl of housing over farmland will benefit the regeneration of our towns as well as our landscapes and wildlife.

Yet you risk driving a new and unnecessary wedge between meeting social and environmental objectives. The shortage of social housing is due to lack of funds, not land on which to build. Local planning authorities have earmarked land for hundreds of thousands of new homes. The problem is that housing associations and councils do not have the resources to provide the social housing which is needed and cannot protect this land from being swallowed up for market housing.

Town and country, people and the environment, would all benefit from a different approach which provides the homes we need in ways that improve the quality of urban life and protect our rural areas for everyone to enjoy.

TONY BURTON

Assistant Director (Policy)

Council for the Protection of Rural England

London SW1

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