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Environment Secretary John Gummer today said he would help people achieve the quality of traditional town centres w...
Environment Secretary John Gummer today said he would help people achieve the quality of traditional town centres which they value, and put the heart back into cities.

Speaking at the Town and Country Planning Association's annual seminar on planning and development control Mr Gummer said: 'Achieving that is partly about protecting town centres against inappropriate development. But that is not enough. Good urban design demands vitality in the urban property market. Vitality flows from people's decisions to shop there. In turn that depends on a positive approach to planning and managing town centres.

He called out-of-town shopping centres and business parks 'derisive' because they deny access and choice to those without a car.

'Building on the by-pass does not make it easy to enjoy urban quality. It echoes the drive-in philosophy we see across the Atlantic, where people mourn the loss of Main Street. Improving urban quality means encouraging the re-use of land in our cities. It means adapting buildings that form part of the familiar townscape for the uses people expect to find in the towns and cities.

'I have therefore asked my Regional Offices to alert me and my Ministerial colleagues in the Department to all those development proposals that will affect the quality of our towns and cities. I will look in particular at the response of local authorities and the retail sector to the messages in PPG6.

'If the proposals of developers, and the response of local authorities, do not seem to reflect the new approach of PPG6, then I will have to consider whether a revision to that guidance is necessary.'

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