BANANA Loses Its Appeal

Rupert Bates, editorial director of – the leading new homes portal – has slammed anti-development groups, including the National Trust and the CPRE, for “peddling a naked NIMBY agenda dressed up as protecting the countryside.”

Addressing an audience of more than 1000 housebuilders and other property professionals at the 30th annual What House? Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the housebuilding industry – Bates said the most vocal critics of the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) were ignoring “critical social, economic and environmental factors, which can help the UK economy back on its feet and put people in the housing they deserve and can afford.”

“Of course there are issues with the NPPF which need addressing. But it was conservation bodies embarking on a campaign of scaremongering, backed by The Daily Telegraph, who completely de-railed any chance of serious, considered debate between opposing views,” said Bates, who is also editorial director of Show House magazine, a leading trade title for housebuilders.

“The idea that the British countryside is suddenly going to be concreted over in a planning free-for-all is absurd,” said Bates.

“What the NPPF does do, probably more by luck than good judgment, is provide a counterweight to localism. When the localism bill was introduced, handing power to the parish pump, there were housebuilding industry fears that winning over local authorities in well-heeled shires, despite the sweetener of the New Homes Bonus, would become ever more difficult.”

“The Planning Framework reminds councils they have a duty to shape their communities proactively, balancing housing, economic, social and environmental needs.”

Bates urges those who lazily condemn the quality of new homes to look at this year’s What House? Award winners.

“The Awards recognise excellence and remind those critics who bother to look and listen that the housebuilding industry can deliver outstanding homes, with a range of product and design initiatives, showing sustainability, excellence, innovation, boldness and vision across the price spectrum.”

Bates ended his Awards speech on a light-hearted note. In the predictable absence of any anti-development groups in the audience at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, Bates produced a banana, representing the acronym Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.