Minister: We Must Build Homes In Countryside
More than 1,500 square miles of open countryside - over twice the area covered by Greater London - needs to be built on to solve the housing crisis.
The suggestion has come from planning minister Nick Boles who said owning a decent home was a "moral right".
People had to realise good developments could be as attractive as open countryside, he added.
His comments, in an interview with the BBC's Newsnight, will infuriate campaigners fighting government efforts to loosen planning laws.
Mr Boles said: "We're going to protect the greenbelt but if people want to have housing for their kids they have got to accept we need to build more on some open land.
"In the UK and England at the moment we've got about 9% of land developed. All we need to do is build on another 2-3% of land and we'll have solved a housing problem."
He insisted everyone had "the right to live somewhere that is not just affordable but that is beautiful and has some green space nearby".
That was "a basic moral right, like healthcare and education", he said.
Addressing so-called "nimbys", Mr Boles said: "It's my job to make the arguments to these people that if they carry on writing letters their kids are never going to get a place with a garden to bring up their grandkids.
"I accept we haven't been able to persuade them. I think it would be easier if we could persuade them that the new development would be beautiful...
"The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn't obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open - sometimes buildings are better."
Mr Boles said he did not want "lazy" builders to build "pig ugly" houses, and urged them to work with local communities.
"Land is expensive but to some extent (developers) are just lazy," he said.
"They didn't talk to local people or get involved enough. But also it's just bloody expensive to build because land is expensive."
The intervention came after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg complained last week that the country had been "under-building for decades".
Unveiling a push for a swathe of new "garden cities" across England, he said: "Hard realities can no longer be ignored. There's only one way out of this housing crisis: we have to build our way out."
what do you think?
Will these new homes be built where people can find work? Will there be decent transport links, and will they be able to afford to travel to work? What about agriculture? Will more food have to be imported? If so, can we afford it? Isn't the real problem that we have far too many people in this country and politicians for the most part refuse to face up to this? No doubt most of the new homes will be built on flood plains, as usual!
Are you for real minister ? It's covering fields with houses & retail parks that has increased the recent floods. Water which once soaked into soil now runs off roofs and tarmac & Tapping new drainage into the current system which wasn't designed to cater for such amounts just creates back up and floods. Try managing the population rise by reducing immigration.
Not in Surrey though, I'll bet.....
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Great! Let's build concrete blocks in the countryside. How many houses are now underwater? Duh
What about all YOUR homes? Were they once green fields? - All houses are built on what were once green fields. Ok, so find some alternative then.
Reduce the population
Ok peter so do we all go living in caves And up trees of course towns and villagers were build on green fields does not mean we have to continue doing it
Wrong solution to wrong problem. Control the population. Why destroy whats left of our green and pleasant land.
Every town has areas were were old housing as been demolished and nothing built in there place .We have rows of terraced housing just boarded up so why not refurbish and regenerate instead of constantly building on green belt .OR is it that everyone thinks they should live in a semi or detached with gardens and a garage There is plenty of existing land to build on
Windows Live User
I am in an old house that was once in the country. Knock it down and build me a new one please
Here's a solution for you Mr Boles-stop this unrestricted immigration policy. This country is collapsing under the burden of too many migrants not enough jobs and not enough houses.
All MP`s have said no building within 10 miles of my house so all of them are terroists
Reduce the number of mp's to 100. Buy one of the empty office blocks in London and use it as the new parliament. Knock down the horrible monstrosity at westminster and build houses. Well, its a start.
Every one here says reduce the population who`s going to jump off the cliffs of Dover first I will stay at the back see that no one is cheating.