According To Farrer ... Landscape's place on political agenda

Politics has recently been dominated by foreign affairs - immigration and, closer to home, the housing crisis. But landscape seems to have slipped off the agenda. Even with the need for extensive new housing areas, there is no talk of garden cities, green belt, new towns or visions to meet this need.

However, on the face of it you would think that things are on the up. I was impressed by the quality of all the shortlisted schemes in the Housing Design Awards last month. I was happy that landscape architects had been involved in all the award schemes and managed to ensure that they should be credited for their work, going forward.

The illusion was made even stronger when housing minister Brandon Lewis, the evening's keynote speaker, passionately spoke about the importance of place making and quality around our homes. Yet in spite of all of this, the reality in Britain at the moment is very different.

The Government is proposing to simplify planning, instead of recognising planning's link to quality. It is listening to private sector developers' argument that their template housing is what people want, instead of recognising that they sell quickly because of desperation, not desirability.

Lewis's words are at odds with the actual changes being legislated. The Treasury has no money for housing. It is simply embracing the private sector to deliver the numbers.

The Housing Design Awards show what can be done but only where a little design, quality and landscape can be afforded - 14 of the 22 shortlisted schemes were in London, five in the south and the final three in the midlands were all in wealthy areas. There were none in the north.

Lewis's words need to be heard and he needs the power to deliver his aspirations. Today's housing is what today's politicians will be remembered for more than anything else, so we must never lose sight of our primary infrastructure - the landscape.

Landscape Institute president Noel Farrer is a founding partner of Farrer huxley associates

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Landscape Contracts & Tenders

Industry Data

New: We have pooled the wealth of data from the past six months' worth of Landscape Project Leads to create an exclusive report for subscribers looking at the key development trends, clients and locations for 2016.