History of the planning system

old house

The beginnings of the planning system

The planning system we have in England today originated from the industrial and agricultural revolutions that began in the 1700s. Before then, most people lived and worked in the countryside.

However, as industry began to grow and agriculture became mechanised, people began to move from the countryside to the towns and cities that were expanding across the country, in the hope of finding better wages and opportunities and to escape from rural poverty.

The towns and cities grew rapidly, housing was built cheaply and quickly, although with little thought for the comforts or levels of sanitation that we take for granted today.

There was no running water, toilets were outside, and served the whole street.These outside 'privies' would spew raw sewage, which would often run down a gutter in the middle of the street.

Drinking water was contaminated as it was taken from the same rivers as the untreated sewage was running into.

The air was often thick with the smoke from the factories and domestic fires that burned coal day and night, and the killer diseases, cholera, typhus, smallpox and dysentery were rife, life expectancy was low at about 35 to 36, especially amongst the working classes.