LP100 There will always be a demand for new buildings. Even if we achieve a stable future population (see Population), the current trend for smaller households will mean more housing is required for some time to come. Also, as times change, there will continue to be a demand for new facilities for work, leisure and retail purposes.
minimise the encroachment onto undeveloped "greenfield" sites, by re-using previously developed sites which have fallen into disuse wherever possible;
reduce the need for people to travel excessively, by ensuring that the necessary facilities are provided at a local level wherever possible;
encourage the use of ecologically sustainable building practices.
LP102 Planning decisions should always be made at the most local practical level. The deemed regional, national or global importance of proposed developments should be weighed alongside the needs and expressed opinions of the local communities in the areas in which they are sited.
LP202 For each town or village to contain housing that is suitable for and affordable by local people as well as at least the basic facilities for work, social and cultural activities required by the community.
LP300 Primarily, these are to re-introduce conservation practices in the design and construction and use of buildings. This should result in buildings which are durable, energy efficient, and adaptable for more than one specific purpose.
Townscapes and landscape with buildings
LP400 As far as possible any development within present cities should be confined within the city boundaries, the intention being not to encroach on any more agricultural land. For similar reasons development brought about by the needs of population dispersal should be sited on derelict or other poor quality land within the confines of an existing built-up area. However, the need for urban green spaces, both formal and informal, should be recognised and these spaces should be protected.
LP401 Housing densities should be increased by high quality design incorporating a reduction in road and parking space, keeping vehicles to the edge of site wherever possible. Car-free developments should also be encouraged, especially in areas close to amenities or with good public transport. (see TR036)
LP402 Derelict land, particularly from extractive industries, should be improved for re-use, not only for recreational purposes, but for housing and light industry. Such sites should only be developed in a way which does not lead to the loss of wildlife habitats or biodiversity. (see LD300-301)
LP403 However, the effects of climate change will mean that it will no longer be practical for the continued use of some sites, including many homes, which are now liable to regular flooding. Such derelict land should be re-landscaped rather than re-developed, and the practice of developing reclaimed marshland should be ended. Central government should also help those who are most affected. Government insurance schemes should be available to offer cover for those refused flooding cover by commercial companies, and there should financial assistance to help with relocation for those whose properties have become uninhabitable
LP404 Planning regulations should be adjusted so that zoning is discouraged. Strict segregation of residential, industrial and commercial areas kills the natural growth of a community. Provided that there is no excessive nuisance all types of building can mix as they have done in the most vigorous communities in the past.
LP405 Policy planning guidance, building regulations, and advice to local authorities will be amended so that local plans reflect the needs of the existing local population and are sustainable (see HO505). Local plans should encourage traditional local designs and innovative energy saving technologies.
LP407 By allowing small part-time businesses, workshops, etc., to spring up in housing areas, incentives will be available for people to use their leisure time for useful part-time work at home, all of which will add to the national stock and to the character of the community.
LP409 New building developments and road systems should be designed and existing systems adapted in accordance with the transport hierarchy (see TR030). They should provide:
convenient safe and pleasant access for pedestrians and cyclists;
convenient and safe access to affordable public transport;
measures to control dangerous and unsociable driving (especially speeding).
LP410 New residential developments should be designed as 'home zones', where pedestrians have priority and other forms of transport must travel at a maximum of 10mph. (see TR116)
LP412 Removing an existing building, or part of it, has just as much impact on the nature of the surrounding built environment as a new building or extension. Therefore, planning permission should be required for demolition or partial demolition, to the same extent as it is required to build or extend.
LP413 Planning decisions should be taken at as decentralised a level as reasonably possible. Although welcoming some regional co-ordination of planning (the 'Regional Planning Guidance' process), Local Authorities should retain democratic accountability for the development and therefore the planning process within their boundaries.
Local independent retailing
LP414 A wide range of local shops and services within walking distance is essential to a sustainable community. Yet local shops are closing or being replaced with chain-store 'clones' and formula retailers every day, and just a few supermarkets dominate the market for groceries. Current government and local government policies are not protecting local shops and markets.
LP415 Retailing is a highly visible part of the business sector with a huge influence on society, local communities and employment. Almost half of UK shops are owned and managed by a sole trader, and many more have fewer than five employees. Retail also provides routes to self employment for groups such as migrants to the UK and ethnic minorities, who are proportionately more likely to start their own businesses. In rural areas, retailing is now the single largest employer.
LP416 Many of the Green Party's policies on localisation and small enterprises will help local, independent retailers, such as the abolition of VAT (see EC771) and combining National Insurance with Income Tax (see EC721), and some of our policies already seek to control parking in new developments (see TR035). However, some specific planning policies to preserve the viability of local shops and the services provided by these enterprises are also necessary.
LP418 We will require regional and local authorities to adopt a retail strategy, a retail regeneration plan and local competition policies to prevent high streets from being dominated by formula businesses, and to ensure fair market access for small, independent retailers. We would require these strategies to include policies to support and retain street markets and farmers markets, and encourage the introduction of new markets, where there is community demand.
LP420 Urban areas often contain valuable wildlife habitats, which protect and encourage greater biodiversity as well as being important for the wellbeing and recreation of urban communities. Existing sites will be protected and enhanced and further habitats established through the following measures:
a) The establishment of a base of information on wildlife and habitats, to inform and assist the development
of policies which take account of the needs of conservation.
b) Develop in all local authority departments involved in the use and management of land, an awareness of the need to take account of wildlife conservation.
c) Use of local authority bye-laws to support local nature conservation objectives.
d) Preparation of local nature conservation strategies as an aid to integrate conservation into local
authorities' forward planning.
e) Creation of new wildlife habitats through derelict land reclamation schemes.
f) Establishment of local nature reserves.
g) Education and the provision of information to increase public awareness of conservation.
In the long term policies to limit land speculation will increase the amount of land available for wildlife habitats.
LP430 In some parts of the country there is a shortage of provision for burials. At the same time there is an interest in woodland burial and other environmentally-friendly forms of burial. Local councils shall review the future need for burial space, to include provision for woodland and other environmentally-friendly forms of burial.
LP440 All new buildings should harmonise with the local built and natural environment. They should not disturb the local sense of place. The height of new buildings should not obscure or unduly disrupt popular viewpoints from local amenities such as parks or hills, and should be broadly consistent with the height of existing buildings in the local environment. Specific buildings providing a distinctive feature to the locality can be an exception to this.
LP441 Proposed new buildings should be energy-costed. Costing should include the extraction and transportation of building materials, as well as the energy used in construction and the energy consumption of the building once in use. Greater energy inputs are required to make tall buildings stable. Buildings above 4-5 storeys require higher energy inputs due to their fundamental reliance upon lifts. Research is needed to determine the most appropriate building dimensions for optimum energy efficiency. Standardised energy costing methodology also needs to be developed. Although detailed costings and analysis are required, tall and large buildings are in general less likely to be sustainable in energy terms than smaller ones.
LP442 Depending on location and function, tall buildings can increase zoning (ie. geographic specialisation reducing the diversity of local activities and building use). Instead of providing local employment opportunities, new high capacity buildings can increase commuter numbers and traffic, overstretch transport facilities, push up local land prices and other costs and threaten the diversity of existing local economies. Tall buildings likely to cause zoning which impacts negatively on the locality should be opposed.
LP443 In some cases where green space, or space valued for local amenities, bio-diversity, wildlife or habitats is under threat from development, taller buildings requiring less groundspace may be appropriate if the demand is justified.
LP445 Tall buildings can increase the load on certain local services and resources such as sewers, drains and the water supply. Developers should implement on-site measures to reduce their load on local services and resources and pay for the enhancement of those services which are close to capacity.
Mobile Phone Masts and TETRA Masts
LP450 There are legitimate concerns regarding the effects of mobile phone and TETRA mast radiation upon human health. In accordance with the precautionary principle, these concerns should be taken seriously in the relevant planning decisions.
LP451 Full planning permission is currently required only for masts above 15m in height. The erection of all mobile phone masts, regardless of height should be subject to full planning permission regulations. Permission should also be required to increase the power of existing masts.
LP452 Where there is significant local opposition no new mast should be erected, and local authorities and other bodies should terminate existing licensing contracts entered into for the siting of masts.
LP453 In the light of the current uncertainty over the dangers of masts, contract licenses and planning permission granted by local authorities for the siting of masts should be limited to specific time-frames. No long-term irreversible agreements should be entered into whilst such uncertainty about health risks exists."
Energy and resource conservation in buildings
LP500 In the long term, so-called autonomous houses and developments are to be recommended, but until they are possible on a wide scale, steps should be taken to encourage resource conservation. VAT on insulation materials and devices which reduce consumption of non-renewable energy and other resources should be abolished. (see EC771).
LP501 Air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems are to be discouraged and the heat pump encouraged in place of gas, oil-fired or electric central heating systems. Proper use should be made of solar gains for space heating and the use of solar heating for domestic hot water should be encouraged. Solar panels will be mandatory in all new buildings.
LP502 Investigate the use of low-grade water for industrial purposes, possibly recycling it within the industrial compound. Water-saving domestic installations should be fitted in all new and renovated buildings.
LP504 All industrial and commercial buildings should be designed for as long a life as possible and not too closely tied to the original purpose, so that a change of ownership and use can readily be accommodated. It should be possible to break down large industrial buildings into a number of small occupancies later if this is necessary.
Taxes on Building and Development
LP510 The present zero rate of VAT for new construction makes it relatively more attractive to put up a new building rather than repair or alter an existing one. This encourages the unnecessary waste of precious natural resources, including undeveloped land.
LP511 The Green Party's policy of abolishing VAT, and replacing it with a system of resource taxes (see EC771) would reverse this. Such taxes would be levied on undeveloped ("greenfield") sites and on the disposal of demolition waste, as well as on the use of non-renewable materials in the construction itself. Together, these measures will ensure the optimum re-use of existing building fabric
LP600 Architecture/building clinics should be set up in every town to give free professional advice to householders and building owners. This could cover the approach to improving property, how to obtain grants or take action against nuisance, or to object to development, and how to generate new work.
Conversion and demolition of dwellings
LP700 Buildings of special historic interest need to be preserved for future generations. The present regulations & guidance for conservation areas & listed buildings should be maintained & improved to provide incentives for the retention of listed structures & to protect or enhance the special historical character of conservation areas.
LP701 Legal sanctions must be stiffened against those who demolish listed buildings, or who allow them to fall into a state of disrepair. The relevant bodies must make proper use of legislation enabling them to do this and must earmark sufficient resources, financial and staff, to operate it effectively.
LP802 Building systems must be investigated thoroughly to determine their true cost in comparison with traditional methods. Many of them are uneconomic on grounds not always immediately apparent, for instance, relying on imported components, high levels of maintenance, high running costs, etc. Their extensive use has also led to a lack of standardisation. Traditional building was, contrary to popular belief, highly standardised and dimensionally coordinated. A return to this quality of standardisation would cut down on much of the waste that is taken for granted in present building systems.