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On Thursday the Government unveiled the biggest overhaul of planning policy in England in decades, and pushed proposals which aim to deliver its target of 300,000 new homes a year. While Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick promised the new system would be “much simpler and faster” than the existing model, Express.co.uk readers raised concerns about the expansion of leafy market towns across the nation.
Express.co.uk conducted an exclusive poll to measure readers’ opinion on the Government’s plan to hit its housing target, a commitment it set in 2017 which has yet to be met.
When asked, “Do you agree with the plan to rapidly expand England’s market towns?” the overwhelming majority said no.
Eighty-one percent (4,180) of respondents said they did not want to see mass building projects spring up in leafy market towns.
Eighteen percent (999) backed the plan while only one percent (52) said they didn’t know.
A total of 5,231 readers took part in the survey which ran from 1.40pm to 11pm on Thursday, August 6.
One person voiced concerns that the plans would turn “this small country into a concrete jungle”.
One reader said there was no way they could support the Government’s plan because green spaces are too precious to build on.
The reader said: “No no no. We are vastly overpopulated.
“We need the countryside, forests and fields for recreation and healing. We need fields for agriculture.”
They added: “People need space, not overcrowding.”
And another opponent of the Conservative Government’s vision said the countryside risked being “destroyed” under the new plans.
The reader said: “Why should we destroy our countryside with bricks and concrete?
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They added: “You’re destroying our way of life for the future.”
The ambitious housing target was last reached in 1969, according to housing charity Shelter, when councils and housing associations built 47 percent of new homes.
Mr Jenrick said it currently takes seven years to produce a local plan, and five years to “get spades in the ground”.
The Sun’s chief political commentator Tom Newton Dunn took to Twitter to give his take on the plans published today.
He said: “Here’s the juiciest bit: councils will be ordered to build where people want to live.
“That means expanding leafy market towns in largely Tory constituencies.
“Robert Jenrick is squeamish about selling this point this morning, but Boris Johnson is v forthright in his foreword.
“This will very likely lead to an almighty fight between the PM and his home county backbenchers (hence why the plan wasn’t in the election manifesto and is being launched in August).
“Is Johnson ready for it? He will need to be. If he succeeds, it could be his greatest legacy.”
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