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Even builders attack Government housing plans

[Tuesday 06 November 2007]
building site
Even builders attack Government housing plans

AS the Government presents its plans today (November 6) for the biggest house building boom in half a century, the growing number of people and organisations in opposition today receives an unlikely ally - the house builders themselves.

The Queen will present Government plans to build and estimated 200 new homes a day over the next 12 years in her speech to mark the opening of Parliament, despite a growing howl of criticism.

And this morning, the most unlikely of bodies, the Federation of Master Builders added it voice to the protest, warning that we were in danger of repeating the errors of the 1950s and 1960s, when huge new housing estates were built, some of which have become virtual deserts of crime, violence and drug-taking.

The National Trust has already announced that it will start to buy up green-field sites, particularly in green belt areas, to stop them being built on and the Campaign to Protect Rural England says it fears a backward step in today's speech asking: "Is the Prime Minister more Brown than Green?"

These protests from mainly rural-based organisations come as no surprise. But for the construction industry's biggest body - whose members stand to earn billions from the plans - will be a major shock in Westminster.

In a letter to today's Daily Telegraph, building federation boss Brian Berry says that the need for new housing can be met using brown-field sites and infilling in existing towns and villages.

He adds: "We must avoid the mistakes of past social housing policy."

One of the pressures for new housing, saying the Conservatives, is the demand created by uncontrolled immigration which, according to recent forecasts, could add between five and ten million people to Britain's population in the next two decades.

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