The introduction of statutory in Britain was triggered by the revolution that the country had undergone in the last 200 years. One of the most notable characteristics of this revolution was a tremendous increase in human population. …
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In 1800, the population was 10.5 million and by 1850, this number was nearly 21 million indicating a doubled figure. By 1900, the population had nearly doubled again and the figure at that time was 37 million. It became obvious that such an increase in population would finally change the physical appearance of the country and result to potential problems associated with this (Penri 2008). At the same time, the industrial revolution had transformed Britain from a country dominated by agriculture into an industrial nation. Early industrial revolution centered populations in the northern Europe specifically Midlands, England and South Wales due to the wool and cotton towns and coalfields. The result was a dramatic growth of the industrial towns and both in terms of population and infrastructure. At this time, there was no pressure for statutory planning in Britain. The result of this was appalling conditions marked by haphazard springing of factories and houses. Due to minimal pressure for statutory town planning, there was no attempt to conduct zoning in Midlands, England and South Wales. As a result, most people lived near their workplaces. There was also no attempt to control the standards of construction and sanitation in these towns. This laxity was a result of a strong belief and reliance on the capacity of the private sector. Consequently, the foul state of housing in these towns led to serious outbreaks and spread of diseases like typhoid and cholera. Towards the end of 19th century, there were increasing concerns for housing conditions especially in the most industrialized towns. There was a need to act in order to control the existing trends in the construction of houses and industries. The believe that cities are evil was also growing. By the end of the 19th century, opinions supporting the need to conduct legislation governing town planning were forwarded by various individuals. At this time, there was also an increased interest in Germany because it had already legislated statutory planning. It was a good example for Britain. A more powerful force on the need to legislate resulted from the ideas and publications of protagonists of planning like J. S Nettlefold. Nettlefold believed in decentralization to the suburbs due to their pleasant environment, cheap transport and cheap land. In 1908, he published a book entitled Practical Housing which outlined the general plan required for unbuilt land, new powers to implement proposals and municipal ownership of land (Penri 2008). Effectiveness of the early statutory planning legislations and their impacts on urban development in the period up to 1939 According to Penri (2008), the first planning Act in Britain was passed in 1909. This Act authorized local councils to prepare planning schemes for any land that was undergoing development or that which was likely to be used for building purposes. The latter group of lands mainly comprised of suburban lands. The planning schemes were supposed to be prepared with the main aim of ensuring that in the years to come, lands that lie within the vicinity of towns are developed in a manner that connection between them and neighboring lands was most convenient. Most importantly, they were to ensure that the land development processes allowed for proper amenity and sanitary conditions. Apart from regulating the number of premises built per site and the space between them, the town planning schemes defined zones and controlled the types of buildings permitted per zone. By 1913, a total of 66 town planning schemes had already been drafted in 50 of Britain’s local authorities. Only those of Middlesex and Birmingham were approved. The preparation and approval of a scheme took a long time. Generally, the process was long and
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