Businesses back Boles’ plans to develop on open countryside

BUSINESS leaders have applauded planning minister Nick Boles after he called for homes to be built over swathes of countryside in order to combat the UK’s housing shortage.

Last night Boles told BBC Newsnight that around 1,500 square miles of open countryside should be developed, in the hope of bringing down the cost of homes and kickstarting the economy with a construction boom.

Corin Taylor of the Institute of Directors, said this was a sensible policy: “The UK population is rising, so it is utterly unrealistic to simply hope people will disappear or cram themselves into ever smaller divisions of the existing stock.”

“New houses must be of a good standard, and in sensible locations rather than smack in the middle of flood plains, but they do need to be built.”

Despite this Boles faces opposition from within his own party and environmental groups.

In a speech later today Boles will emphasise that while the government has handed responsibility to local councils to plan for future housing needs, this can be swiftly taken away: “If they fail to take their responsibilities seriously, the presumption in favour of sustainable development will fill the vacuum and make the vital decisions that they are ducking.”

“We want to build beautiful and affordable places once again,” Boles will say.