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April 2, 2001 17:14: I do not disagree with a good deal of what Sir Sydney Chapman said on the history of postwar planning (Times Soapbox, March 22), although he might recognise that Conservative governments in the Fifties and early Sixties promoted many of the policies he now attacks.
It was the Thatcher/Major government, furthermore, which relaxed planning regulations for the suburban areas and out-of-town shopping centres.
He really ought to give credit where it is due. It is the present Labour government which has raised the target for new homes on brownfield sites to 60 per cent to help promote the quality of urban living and reduce pressures on the countryside.
Once in opposition, apparently sensing a bandwagon, the Conservatives said they would raise the target even higher. Mysteriously, however, their environment spokesperson dropped that commitment in October.
The Government's 'urban first' policy is vital to protecting greenfield land and making development in our cities more attractive.
It is good to know that our approach seems to have Sir Sydney's support, though not apparently that of the rest of his party.
Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet