Having lived and worked in the United Kingdom for the last 12 years, I’ve had a good chance to see a lot of the countryside of the UK on my motorcycle rides to various history sites. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Wales. I’ve not made it to Northern Ireland on a bike yet, but someday!
However, my recent rides around the English Civil War battlefields have given me a new perspective on the countryside and how much of it remains. There is still a good amount and it is beautiful… and much against my gut, civil planning may have made this the case.
I am torn over the level of civil planning required to build in the UK. The liberal in me says, if you own the land, you should be able to do what you want to with it. However, the pragmatist in me knows that the countryside would be quickly overrun by the hordes building houses all over the place. Whilst it is understandable and even agreeable for this to be the case in place like the US, it is open to much more debate in a place the size of Oregon and a population of 60 million. Back on the other hand, why should urban dwellers be subjected to high housing prices and cramped, mid-20th century standards of living just because someone wants to see a 400 year old hedge retained instead of a string of houses. I think, in the balance, I still come down on the side of much less restrictive planning, but not as wholly as I might have at one time