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Land and freedom

Alfred Sherman attacks John Gummer's white paper on land use and his attempt to turn London into Barcelona

It is a dismal prospect. The impulse for liberation which powered Margaret Thatcher’s challenge to postwar Butskellite conservatism has degenerated into the petty authoritarian presumption epitomised by John Gummer’s decision to restrict further the release of green land for housing development, while abusing his planning powers to make the British townscape look more like Paris or Barcelona.

His white paper calls for a further diminution of new development, as though it were self-evident that building on rural land is eo ipso wrong, and that to keep land unbuilt eo ipso desirable. Only man is vile. The high court recently ruled…

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