Concreting Over the Countryside – Myth or Reality?

Housing has become one of the greatest contemporary challenges that the UK faces domestically, with demand for housing ever rising while high prices, particularly in urban centres, take up a sizeable chunk of people’s income. While shared ownership schemes have been one solution to the housing shortage by making homes more affordable, ultimately, this need will have to be met by the construction of new houses.

Seeking out areas that can be earmarked for development projects has been met with a strong backlash from those who fear that the countryside, something quintessentially English, will slowly fade away as it gets concreted over as a consequence of ‘urban sprawl’.

Champions of this view have included the Council for the Protection of Rural England, which has warned that the UK cold lose the majority of its traditional countryside within the space of one generation as a result of construction aimed at alleviating housing pressures. This group is concerned that the UK will lose this defining feature at the hand of greedy developers, who do little to respect the character and history of the rural villages when considering where and how they build, all the while decimating ancient woodlands, and threatening rare animal and plant life.

On the other side of the spectrum are those concerned with the difficulty faced by a young generation finding it nearly impossible to get onto the housing ladder, particularly in times when the economy has been under pressure, and when housing prices have been edging more and more people out of the market.

In reality, people have little need to fear a concrete monster eating up English farmland. According to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, the vast majority of the UK has in fact not been developed, with only 10% being classified as urban (and this includes roads and villages in rural areas). Of this portion, more than half are green spaces in the form of parks, fields and allotments, while a fifth of urban areas are domestic gardens. As illustrated in the charts below, this means that as little as 2.2% of the UK is actually concreted over.

These statistics instead suggest that the UK can afford to select strategically located land to develop for housing and the services needed for those homes, without threatening the countryside tradition and character that Britons so love.


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For further details download the UK National Eco Assessment report.

The 500 Mile Pedalo – In Aid Of Parkinson’s UK & Cancer Research UK

In aid of Parkinson’s UK and Cancer Research UK, The 500 Mile Pedalo is an ambitious, and probably crazy, attempt to peddle a four-man pedalo in some of the UK’s most dangerous waters to raise funds for two worthy and important causes.

Manned by Edward Foster, Sholto Morgan and Nicholas & Natasha Kirby; the pedalo is being operated by a digital media editor, actor, real estate lawyer and banker. An incongruous motley crew on paper; but a driven, dedicated and well-trained team in reality that has everything behind them to make a success of the tough journey ahead. To find out more about the 500 Mile Pedalo and the motive behind the peddlers, watch this video and visit the website:

Ptarmigan Land is a bronze sponsor and supporter of the cause, and encourages companies and individuals to get behind the 500 Mile Pedalo and the fight against Parkinson’s and Cancer.

Queen’s Speech 2014 Underpins Importance Of Land Promotion

The Queen’s Speech at the opening of parliament on Wednesday, 4 June, briefly outlined the UK’s plan of action in the development of housing, and changes to the planning system; both of which underpin the importance of land promotion.

It is no secret that the UK is facing a housing crisis of a severe magnitude. Barriers to entry in the housing market and the low availability of houses has meant that the state and councils have had to take a long-term view on development and the advancement towards ‘garden cities’ – housing and green areas developed together in harmony.

Garden cities, although very much at the helm of modern housing planning, are in fact not a new idea or concept. Conceptualised in the 19th Century, economist Sir Ebenezer Howard noted the viability of respectful and proportionate development that equally honored residences, industry and agriculture; and the harmony between all three. The creation of self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts may have appeared Utopian at first glance, but good design and development is in the best interests of everyone.

In the Queen’s Speech, it was noted that in order to develop these garden cities, the government would make available and sell high value land to encourage development and increase housing. However, the amount of land available for green cities is not infinite and it is also the responsibility of the private sector to make available land for these developments.

This is where land promotion becomes important and that companies, like Ptarmigan, work together with landowners to unlock the strategic development potential of their land. Good design and a carefully crafted masterplan, in consultation with the community, will get land ‘heard’ and allow for development that is a win-win for all stakeholders.