Landscape Institute warns that home-building scheme overlooks landscaping

Incentives for local councils to build new houses through the New Homes Bonus scheme may not lead to more landscaping, the Landscape Institute has warned.

Policy committee member and landscape planning consultant Ian Phillips said he was "cynical" over whether any money would go on landscaping through the scheme, which is housing minister Grant Shapps's plan to offer councils in England extra money for every newly-built home as part of a Government programme aimed at easing housing shortages.

Under the New Homes Bonus, the Government will match the council tax raised on each new home for six years to incentivise house building, which is at its lowest level since the 1920s.

Phillips said the new scheme may not be good for landscapers: "Planting around housing should be part and parcel of planning consents anyway. It should not be a matter for public expenditure separate to the building itself.

"That said, contributions over and above what developers produce may be used for anything the local authority decides to spend its money on, such as bin collection rather than open space, particularly as open space requires ongoing maintenance. I'm fairly cynical."

Phillips said he was still waiting for the new Government to show its commitment to being the greenest ever. He added that the Decentralisation and Localism bill due out in November, which will abolish regional spatial strategies and is intended to give councils, neighbourhoods and local communities greater control over housing and planning decisions, would determine the Government's view of green space.

He said the Landscape Institute will campaign to make sure landscape provision is included in any new planning regulations because it will not come voluntarily from house builders.

But amenity grower Johnsons of Whixley director Andrew Richardson was more hopeful about the New Homes Bonus scheme. "This has to be good for horticulture. There is still a shortage of housing and one way or another the Government has to get it going," he said.

"We're starting to see the very first signs of house builders starting to move a little bit. Public sector work has dropped off but house building is starting to go again."

He said the recession-led collapse of house building over the past two years had caused "major problems" for amenity growers. The feeling at HTA ornamental meetings was that the new Government was promising much on green space "but it's all about the delivery", he insisted.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

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

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

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.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer