Having read your news story on high density housing and children (11 March, page 24), I believe there is a dichotomy.
On one side of the argument we have the assertion that high-density building will discourage couples from starting families, and on the other we have the fact that traditional housing all over the country is no longer affordable by young couples hoping to start a family. The only way couples can afford housing is by both partners having full-time employment, which is not family friendly.
I live on a new “flagship” development in Newcastle upon Tyne called the Newcastle Great Park. It was not built to PPG3 standards but to a hybrid design that took on the principles of high-density housing. Most of the houses are three-storey terraced townhouses, built in a mews style. What that means is there is very limited parking, no front gardens, very small rear gardens, and in some areas there is no demarcation between pedestrian and vehicular areas. I know that in planning circles, mixing vehicles and pedestrians is supposed to be safe, but try telling that to families with young children on Newcastle Great Park.
Another planning misnomer is that public transport can be forced on people and therefore less parking provision is required. Unless public transport is improved, and perhaps subsidised, then adequate provision for cars must be made to avoid the neighbour disputes that have occurred at Newcastle Great Park.
I have three young children, so I know first hand what it is like to bring up a family, and I would say that if high-density housing is to continue, sound insulation between adjacent properties has got to be improved.
I would like to know whether there are any planners living on Newcastle Great Park and if so, do they still agree with their own policy?
Phillip Meyer, via email