Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

'Moral right' to home ownership

Planning minister Nick Boles said owning a decent home was a 'moral right'

A third more of the country should be built on to solve the housing crisis, the coalition's planning minister has suggested.

Nick Boles said owning a decent home was a "moral right", and people had to realise that good developments could be as attractive as open countryside.

The comments, in an interview with BBC's Newsnight due to be aired on Wednesday, will infuriate campaigners fighting government efforts to loosen the planning system.

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", according to the Tory minister.

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."

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government(Department for Communities)

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