Earlier this month the government issued new guidance to councils on using Local Plans to protect areas against urban sprawl and preserve the green areas around towns and cities.

Meanwhile brownfield sites are being prioritised with thousands of new homes to be built.

But if we are to ensure suitable levels of housing are available in this country for the future, especially as people are living to a greater age, then all options for housing need to be considered, including use of so-called green belt.

The truth is that the vast majority of us have benefited from housing development on what were once leafy lanes surrounded by fields and meadows. It’s a useful reminder to see how modern street scenes used to look if you can track down an old photograph or drawing.

It is therefore absurd for people to object to any new development whatsoever when the site of their own home was not that long ago just bare earth.

Rather than simply being limited to a narrow debate about whether we should build on green belt or not, the real issue is actually making sure housing is of an appropriate design, built with quality materials, and the property is of a good size.

Continuing the historical comparison, 100 years ago new houses were bigger internally, with more room for families to live, separate dining rooms, and a spare room set aside for guests.

And on the outside, the plots were bigger, with private gardens and space to relax.

Developers today have a money-making philosophy of cramming as many boring brick houses as possible on to tiny plots, with token greenery in the form of a few slabs of turf.

We need to encourage a return to the days when small, independent local builders shaped our towns and villages, individually customising homes and taking a craftsman’s pride in their work.

Look around and you will see many fine examples.

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