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Professor and ex-speechwriter to Prince of Wales:

Added: (Wed Jul 04 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Jules Lubbock, Professor and former speechwriter to the
Prince of Wales, argues “BUILD ON THE COUNTRYSIDE”
---------------------------------------------------

In a controversial polemic for openDemocracy, to be published on Thursday July 5th, Jules Lubbock calls for the dismantling of the whole post-war British planning system – and the total abolition of agricultural subsidies.

‘The countryside is under threat not from too much building, but too little.’

Lubbock identifies a ‘New Orthodoxy’ uniting Richard Rogers (Chair of the Urban Task Force) and John Jackson (Chairman of the Countryside Alliance), who in their joint openDemocracy interview called for a different relationship between city and country. Lubbock argues they have ‘picked the wrong problem, and come up with the wrong answers’.

‘Contrary to popular belief,’ Lubbock says, ‘we live in an uncrowded island’. He views Richard Rogers' complaints of urban sprawl as ‘a figment of the imagination’. Rather, ‘Britain has been preserved as a green if not so pleasant land’. Talk of the countryside having been concreted-over is ‘nonsense’.

Rogers and Jackson are simply proposing more of the same failed policy. The result is that people are forced to live in communities against their wishes. He blames ‘club government’, ‘the policies of an elite formulated in ignorance’.
Lubbock argues that ‘the countryside has become sacrosanct, nature our God and ecology our new religion’. He sees ‘a new theocracy of platonic guardians… stealthily preparing to take over political control from our imperfect democratic institutions by scaring us with an environmental doomsday’.

He wants to see policies driven by facts and reason – which acknowledge that there is no crisis, but an abundance of land. He says the price of development land and housing in the South of England is artificially inflated by planning restrictions.

Lubbock believes the answer lies in a creative mixture of town and country rather than bureaucratic enforcement of their separation. He envisages a new renaissance: one in which art galleries and restaurants sit beside woodland and meadows; offices and factories are surrounded by fields of wheat and barley; with a countryside less dominated by agriculture, with more wildlife and pavement cafes. All this, he says, would mean cheaper housing, better food and stronger communities.

ENDS
-----------------

CONTACT
-----------------
Paul Hilder (paul.hilder@opendemocracy.net)

Dominic Hilton (dominic.hilton@opendemocracy.net)

Tel (+44)(0)20 7608 2000


NOTES FOR EDITORS
-----------------

openDemocracy is a global network for high quality debate of long-term issues. It was launched on 1st June and is in its third issue. It aims to invite the best thinkers, policy makers and creators from across the spectrum to engage with thinking people around the world. Still in its pilot phase, openDemocracy is a non-profit organisation: a dot.net, not a dot.com. The main topics are Europe, City & Country, and Media (the Lubbock intervention follows a joint interview with Richard Rogers and John Jackson in the City & Country Topic, co-edited by the conservative countryman Roger Scruton and the progressive urbanist Ken Worpole). The Editor of openDemocracy is Anthony Barnett, writer and founder of Charter 88.

Jules Lubbock explored the history of British town planning legislation in his Tyranny of Taste. He was speechwriter for the Prince of Wales’s interventions in the architectural debate during the 1980s. He is Professor of Art History at the University of Essex and has just been awarded a major grant for a four year research study into architecture and town planning since 1945. Jules Lubbock, Professor and former speechwriter to the
Prince of Wales, argues “BUILD ON THE COUNTRYSIDE”
---------------------------------------------------

In a controversial polemic for openDemocracy, to be published on Thursday July 5th, Jules Lubbock calls for the dismantling of the whole post-war British planning system – and the total abolition of agricultural subsidies.

‘The countryside is under threat not from too much building, but too little.’

Lubbock identifies a ‘New Orthodoxy’ uniting Richard Rogers (Chair of the Urban Task Force) and John Jackson (Chairman of the Countryside Alliance), who in their joint openDemocracy interview called for a different relationship between city and country. Lubbock argues they have ‘picked the wrong problem, and come up with the wrong answers’.

‘Contrary to popular belief,’ Lubbock says, ‘we live in an uncrowded island’. He views Richard Rogers' complaints of urban sprawl as ‘a figment of the imagination’. Rather, ‘Britain has been preserved as a green if not so pleasant land’. Talk of the countryside having been concreted-over is ‘nonsense’.

Rogers and Jackson are simply proposing more of the same failed policy. The result is that people are forced to live in communities against their wishes. He blames ‘club government’, ‘the policies of an elite formulated in ignorance’.
Lubbock argues that ‘the countryside has become sacrosanct, nature our God and ecology our new religion’. He sees ‘a new theocracy of platonic guardians… stealthily preparing to take over political control from our imperfect democratic institutions by scaring us with an environmental doomsday’.

He wants to see policies driven by facts and reason – which acknowledge that there is no crisis, but an abundance of land. He says the price of development land and housing in the South of England is artificially inflated by planning restrictions.

Lubbock believes the answer lies in a creative mixture of town and country rather than bureaucratic enforcement of their separation. He envisages a new renaissance: one in which art galleries and restaurants sit beside woodland and meadows; offices and factories are surrounded by fields of wheat and barley; with a countryside less dominated by agriculture, with more wildlife and pavement cafes. All this, he says, would mean cheaper housing, better food and stronger communities.

ENDS
-----------------

CONTACT
-----------------
Paul Hilder (paul.hilder@opendemocracy.net)

Dominic Hilton (dominic.hilton@opendemocracy.net)

Tel (+44)(0)20 7608 2000


NOTES FOR EDITORS
-----------------

openDemocracy is a global network for high quality debate of long-term issues. It was launched on 1st June and is in its third issue. It aims to invite the best thinkers, policy makers and creators from across the spectrum to engage with thinking people around the world. Still in its pilot phase, openDemocracy is a non-profit organisation: a dot.net, not a dot.com. The main topics are Europe, City & Country, and Media (the Lubbock intervention follows a joint interview with Richard Rogers and John Jackson in the City & Country Topic, co-edited by the conservative countryman Roger Scruton and the progressive urbanist Ken Worpole). The Editor of openDemocracy is Anthony Barnett, writer and founder of Charter 88.

Jules Lubbock explored the history of British town planning legislation in his Tyranny of Taste. He was speechwriter for the Prince of Wales’s interventions in the architectural debate during the 1980s. He is Professor of Art History at the University of Essex and has just been awarded a major grant for a four year research study into architecture and town planning since 1945.

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