England has a housing crisis. We need to build many more new homes to house our growing population, but house building is controversial, particularly when it involves the loss of countryside.
Addressing both sides of this critical debate, Shaun Spiers argues that to drive house building on the scale needed, government must strike a contract with civil society: in return for public support and acceptance of the loss of some countryside, it must guarantee high quality, affordable developments, in the right locations. Simply imposing development, as recent governments of all political persuasions have attempted, will not work.
Focusing on house building and conservation politics in England, Spiers uses his considerable experience and extensive research to demonstrate why the current model doesn’t work, and why there needs to be both planning reform and a more active role for the state, including local government.
Shaun Spiers was Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) from 2004-2017. Founded in 1926, CPRE ‘campaigns for a beautiful and living countryside’. Before joining CPRE, Shaun was Chief Executive of ABCUL, the credit union trade association, and from 1994 – 1999 he was MEP for London South East. He is currently executive director of the environmental think-tank, Green Alliance.
How to think about housing and planning;
The housing crisis;
"This book is a fascinating read and its message is spot on. The need for increasing the delivery of new homes has never been more urgent - but equally vital is building homes that are beautiful, energy efficient and that add value to the local community. Thank you Shaun, this book is essential reading for all housing policy makers." Sue Chalkley, Hastoe Housing Association
"A must read for anyone interested in housing." Evan Davis, Journalist and Presenter
"This is a book that needed to be written and which I hope officials, ministers, local authorities and - perhaps most of all - the volume house-builders read." Fiona Reynolds, Master of Emmanuel College and author of The Fight for Beauty
"Finally a solution to the housing argument: Shaun Spiers has shown how we can build more homes and still save the countryside, so everyone wins." Alice Thomson, The Times
“This book is at once reasonable and visionary - a remarkable combination, and a remarkably important contribution to one of the most important social policy debates of our time. Everyone interested in the question of how to meet our urgent housing needs, while also protecting the landscape, should read it.” Sir Andrew Motion
"Rural planning in Britain has all but collapsed. How to restore it, how to reinvigorate the rural economy and chart who will live in it and how, is by far the biggest challenge to domestic politics in Britain. Thank god for this book and its clear thinking on the subject." Simon Jenkins, journalist and author
“This book argues convincingly that the beauty of the English countryside is compatible with reasonable growth in housing if it is well planned and well designed - only matching beauty will do! Well done Shaun Spiers.” Sir Terry Farrell, Architect and Urban Designer