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Ease restrictions on earth sheltered & basement housing

Comment 1st July 2010

There are only 60 earth sheltered houses in the UK mostly in Wales. The planning law for permission is as strict for earth sheltered as it is for above ground – this is wrong!!!!!

A council has to consider aesthetics as well as several other aspects, and any application in the green belt is automatically turned down as green belt building is considered best avoided.

An earth sheltered house is almost always eco friendly – I do not know why – but it is!!

An earth sheltered house cannot be seen or can barely be seen from above ground, other than an aerial view.  This sort of building should be encouraged as this small island has only limited space, we do not wish to see the loss of more green fields or parks, playing fields, agricultural land etc etc.  But earth sheltered would barely impact on infrastructure, does not spoil views or appearance to greenbelt land, and surely should be encouraged in an attempt to help find space for much needed homes. In my opinion all applications for earth sheltered housing should automatically be viewed as if they were brown field sites, and then each taken on its merits. 

Why does this matter?

All eco buildings are to be encouraged, all eco housing is to be encouraged, there is such a shortage of homes relative to the demand. Earth sheltered should be encouraged not discouraged because they are kind to the environment, are warmer so less demanding on the energy suppliers, are cheaper to run, more affordable to buy and do not impinge on the greenbelt in a way that can be seen.

It seems quite wrong in principal that Councils would view an application for an earth sheltered house as one that is immediately to expect to be declined for being in the green belt, when it could quite possibly be given a positive response without harming anyone or anything.

Although possibly only important to a relatively small number of people, if these changes were to be made, in principal it is something people could focus on, and numbers would slowly grow, helping solve some of the housing problems, almost certainly then seeing costs go down to build one, as the more people jumped on the bandwagon the lower per home costs would become.  Surely this is something that should be looked at. Thankyou

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