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LONDON- Planning Minister Lord Falconer has called for planners and developers to stop squandering land. Increasing housing shortages, especially in London and the South East, are now beginning to drive planning policy as much as the well-established emphasis on sustainable development.

‘Make no mistake, we mean business on the development of brownfield sites before greenfield sites,’ he told the Town and Country Planning Summer School in Exeter last week. ‘We will do all in our power to deliver our policy of 60 per cent of new build on brownfield land.’

And he underlined that the low development densities common in the 1990s were no longer acceptable. ‘Try telling a nurse or teacher trying to get a foot on the housing ladder, that you only made half as good use of a housing site as you could have done. And low density developments are also less likely to sustain local services or public transport. They risk social exclusion. They can be unsustainable in every sense of the word,’ he said.

To help speed up the planning system, Lord Falconer announced that the government was to fund the development of an online system for tracking planning appeals, known as the Planning Portal. It will allow appellants and members of the public access to all the documents about an appeal and it will provide an electronic form for use in planning applications online.

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