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Effluent Man
25th Nov 2014, 07:54
Interestingly on the wireless yesterday (R2 Jezza Vine) Mark Littlewood of the right wing Institute of Economic Affairs making the self same proposal that I did last week,getting howled down by the Usual Suspects as destructive and conducting a politics of envy campaign.

My village has two pubs and a village shop,two surgeries (Doctors and vets) and a full time population of about 400.Approximately 50% of the houses are second homes.

I see no reason whatsoever why a further 50-100 house could not be accommodated.Agricultural land could be purchased at market rates and auctioned in plots,raising a large amount to reduce national debt and therefore deficit.In addition house owners with larger plots could be allowed to build an extra house thereby stimulating the economy.

Downside?

sitigeltfel
25th Nov 2014, 09:25
The problem is not a lack of housing, it is a surplus of people.

Until that fundamental problem is acknowledged and addressed, the downslide will continue.

Building on productive agricultural land will only lead to an increasing reliance on food importation to stuff all those extra mouths.

Effluent Man
25th Nov 2014, 09:36
Current population level,while not desirable,is manageable.It is lack of supply that is causing the inexorable rise in prices.While this is good for some (My own house has increased in value by £165k in three years) it is bad news for young people trying to get on the housing ladder and also is putting upward pressure on rents.

Mark Littlewood argued that we need a million extra houses.There is no alternative to considering areas outside the current land earmarked for development.In terms of land for agriculture the amount lost would be insignificant.

Sallyann1234
25th Nov 2014, 09:37
More houses need more roads, more energy, more imported materials.
You need to reduce the demand, rather than pander to it.

But that's easy to say for those of us who already have nice houses.

Effluent Man
25th Nov 2014, 09:44
Exactly,and Mark Littlewood addressed this point.I live in an AONB but I don't consider my right to a view comes above the need to house the population in decent quality homes.House prices might fall by 15-20% but this is only the amount of the increase since the beginning of last year so I don't think that negative equity would be a problem.

UniFoxOs
25th Nov 2014, 09:50
Current population level,while not desirable,is manageable

A lot of people will disagree with that. This country will for ever rely on other countries' goodwill and overseas trading to feed ourselves as long as we have to import food from them. There is no guarantee that this situation will prevail.

If we can not increase food supply to be totally self-sufficient if necessary then we should aim to reduce the population to a level where we can feed ourselves.

VP959
25th Nov 2014, 10:42
Isn't the real problem that we have had a gross movement of the working population from the North to the South, with the consequent demand for more houses in the South (where building land is scarce, and so expensive) and reduced demand for houses in the North (where building land is far less scarce and so relatively cheap)?

Building land in the South, away from London, seems to be around £80k to £200k per plot, depending on location and size. Building land in the North, and places like parts of South Wales, tends to be around £20k to £100k per plot, again depending on size and location.

Much of the housing land problem could be resolved by creating good employment opportunities in our former manufacturing and mining centres (which tended to be towards the North and in parts of Wales) and then rebuilding much of the derelict, poor quality housing there.

It's not going to happen for as long as our new, service-focussed, economy remains based largely in the South, and there is a vicious circle where new service industries set up business in the South because that's where there are skilled and experienced staff, so exacerbating the housing shortage.

There are great swathes of land in the North, Midlands and South Wales that could be re-developed at far less cost than building thousands of new homes in the South, on expensive land. All it needs is a way to encourage such development.

Mechta
25th Nov 2014, 11:34
Once all those empty, Chinese-owned, apartments in London come on the market, when the owners find a better place to put their money or need it back as liquid assets, there will be a return from the suburbs to the capital and a follow-on wave freeing up the housing market. I wouldn't be investing in property at the moment.

Its already happening in China, so it may not be long before it starts here.

BBC News - Ordos: The biggest ghost town in China (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17390729)


There are great swathes of land in the North, Midlands and South Wales that could be re-developed at far less cost than building thousands of new homes in the South, on expensive land. All it needs is a way to encourage such development.

A bit of weather modification perhaps?

Yesterday they were saying on the news that anyone over the age of 40 may struggle to get a mortgage, yet the age of people still living with their parents is rapidly heading that way. Something's got to give.

Gertrude the Wombat
25th Nov 2014, 12:41
Once all those empty, Chinese-owned, apartments in London
Why are they empty?


WTF are the local authorities doing, not using their powers to bring empty properties into use?

Gertrude the Wombat
25th Nov 2014, 12:43
All it needs is a way to encourage such development.
Nobody has thought of one.


Cambridge, for example, isn't competing with the north for jobs - it's competing with Bangalore, the Riviera, and Silicon Valley. That's where the jobs - and thus the need for housing - will go if we don't build houses locally. Not of any help to the north.

SpringHeeledJack
25th Nov 2014, 13:14
Why are they empty?


WTF are the local authorities doing, not using their powers to bring empty properties into use?

Financed, and sold in the Far East off plan and then the only local beneficiaries are the Architects, planners, construction firms and so on, with the latter using primarily East European workers who send their money home….:hmm: It might make a cynical person wonder if the local authorities are somehow in cahoots with investors in such schemes. It's truly stunning just how many new builds are going up along the Thames in the London area these last 2 years or so. The crowning jewel is the old Battersea Power Station site, with it being a Far East show. As to why anyone would pay multi millions to live directly under LHR's flight path, next to a near 24hr rail line, main roads and the pollution is beyond me. Oh yes, investors from afar and people who will come for a few weeks in the summer.


SHJ

Blacksheep
25th Nov 2014, 13:26
It's elementary, Dear Watson. It's another "bubble".

When one bursts, another always pops up. :rolleyes:

Shaggy Sheep Driver
25th Nov 2014, 13:28
Isn't the real problem that we have had a gross movement of the working population from the North to the South, with the consequent demand for more houses in the South (where building land is scarce, and so expensive) and reduced demand for houses in the North (where building land is far less scarce and so relatively cheap)?

Um, not round here it's not. The biggest topic in the local news in East Cheshire is the threat to the greenbelt from new house building. Already many large villas in extensive grounds have been razed and replaced by estates of cheek-by-jowl boxes. Woodford Airfield, surplus to BAe requirements is to be a developers' bonanza; a fine runway, control tower, and approach aids which could provide much needed GA capacity in a part of the country with a high population and no real GA infrastucture. But predictably, it is to be built on.

Residents are constantly fire-fighting speculative new-build proposals in the green belt or on agricultural land where it was never intended planning permission would be granted. If permission is denied, the developers of course appeal these local planning decisions and often it ends up with the Planning Inspector in the south east, or even the Secretary of State. They are remote, don't understand local issues, and often give consent against local planners' wishes.

So the pressure to build on our limited countryside is far from a southeast issue. Except it is for us, because it's in the S.E. that our local planning decisions get overturned!

Gertrude the Wombat
25th Nov 2014, 13:57
it ends up with the Planning Inspector in the south east
Don't often hear Bristol being called "the south east". (Other than by the Cornish of course.)

Blacksheep
25th Nov 2014, 15:58
the threat to the greenbelt The purpose of a Green Belt is not to provide "countryside" leisure space. Its sole purpose is to hold up property values within the built up space. This is a major contributor to property price inflation in UK. There is no shortage of housing: there is a shortage of building land. An artificially created and sustained shortage. On land that is available for building, new houses are now the smallest in Europe and very, very much smaller than houses almost everywhere except Japan - which has the same problem as UK.

When I lived in Brunei for example, a typical living room would be 10 metres by 8. That's double the entire ground space of a typical new-build in UK. For a house that costs a third of the price.

Here's a link to a social housing scheme (http://pghermawan.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/housing-scheme-tender-brunei-darussalam/)in Brunei. Compare that with a typical UK housing (http://images.int.nap.artirix.com/images/20140814/1-51486937l-620x463.jpg)project.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
25th Nov 2014, 16:46
The purpose of a Green Belt is not to provide "countryside" leisure space. Its sole purpose is to hold up property values within the built up space.

That's plain incorrect.

From the Government planning guidance site:

80
Green Belt serves five purposes:

1) to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
2) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
3) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
4) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
5) to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

I suppose you'd just have the whole country concreted over?

Tankertrashnav
25th Nov 2014, 16:49
Don't often hear Bristol being called "the south east". (Other than by the Cornish of course.)

Bristol? That's up North somewhere, isn't it?

;)

MG23
25th Nov 2014, 16:51
I suppose you'd just have the whole country concreted over?

Have you ever actually flown over Britain and looked out the window?

Hint: only about 7% of the country is built up and only about 2% of that is residential. You could double the number of houses in Britain and there'd still be less than 10% 'concreted over'.

Britain has had appalling planning rules since WWII because Labour wanted to push the working class into Stalinist tower blocks, and the Tories didn't want the working class messing up their nice, middle-class villages. It's nothing to do with the amount of land available.

G-CPTN
25th Nov 2014, 17:13
The problem is (as has already been mentioned) the infrastructure.
Gridlock by traffic is endemic in parts of the south, and, even in the sparsely-populated north there are problems with parked vehicles on residential streets.

Few of the dwellings were designed for three or four vehicles per household (many were built when car-ownership was very low or non-existent).

Then there is the limited capacity of the legacy sewer systems - combined systems that overflow due to having surface storm water whenever there are 'cloudbursts'. The cost of separating the flows (mandatory since 1948) in streets built many years earlier is prohibitive and impractical.
Whilst new-build estates are coping with the storms, the result ends up in the old combined systems before this reaches the treatment plant.

London is about to address their problem (of regular discharges of untreated sewage into the Thames), but similar problems occur almost everywhere where established towns exist.

Only 'new' towns (such as Milton Keynes) will have been built with separate systems throughout.

SpringHeeledJack
25th Nov 2014, 17:19
From the air there certainly is plenty of green, but the UK always has been the envy of other countries in having the foresight of making breathing spaces and areas of natural beauty (AONB) available, rather than just steamrollering urban conurbation into areas of previous nature. Just like art in a gallery can be best appreciated with a space around it, so is life in built up areas. The more that gets built, the more people will come and use that area and that's without the drip drip drop of immigration from abroad, Johnny Foreigner and all that.

The old adage of what happens when too many rats are in a cage comes to mind. There's an optimum number of people for a space, especially as all those people need housing, facilities, shops, transport and by building on fields that were previously used for crops we are in one fell swoop increasing the mouths to feed and reducing the amount of food……Hmmm, I wonder who might benefit from such a strange scenario ? :suspect:


SHJ

MG23
25th Nov 2014, 17:23
The problem is (as has already been mentioned) the infrastructure.
Gridlock by traffic is endemic in parts of the south, and, even in the sparsely-populated north there are problems with parked vehicles on residential streets.

And yet, the Green Belters' solution is to push more people into those areas, so they can see fields outside their houses.

I'm trying to imagine what the Victorians who built so much of today's housing and infrastructure think of those who claim today that it's just too hard to build more. Britain is probably the most glaring example of the move from a 'Can Do' to 'No Can Do' society in only a few decades.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
25th Nov 2014, 17:31
Have you ever actually flown over Britain and looked out the window?

I've spent most of my adult life (and I'm an old git now) doing precisely that. From the air it's obvious UK is very built up - far more so than one might think from driving around.

Try finding somewhere where you can practice a forced landing down to a few feet with a guarantee of not contravening the 500' rule. There are houses and developed land everywhere except in the most remote parts of UK.

We are a crowded country and we need tough planning laws to preserve our unique British countryside. Once it's gone, it's gone. It's not a reversible process.

Hence the green belt, and the reasons I gave before for its existence.

papajuliet
25th Nov 2014, 17:39
SSD is absolutely right. I live in rural Staffordshire and the villages are facing an onslaught of developers.If the planning applications are successful [ and they often are ] the villages become just another urban sprawl with overloaded roads, drainage, schools, medical facilities and so on.
There is little, or no, employment in the countryside so people have no option but to travel, often considerable distances.
MG23 seems to have overlooked that a very large percentage of the UK landmass just isn't suitable for building upon.
My recent experience of opposing development applications has made me even more cynical of democracy. Planning committees tend to take the reports of planning officers without question. Those individuals seem to lean over backwards to encourage the developers - they certainly have far too cosy a relationship with them.
What is particularly unfair is that only developers can appeal a Local Authority decision - objectors to the application can't. And it's the Authority that bears the costs of the appeal [ which possibly explains the planning officers' attitude]. Everything is loaded in favour of developers. In one example of an application in my locality, a developer has been knocking on the doors of people living near open fields, asking if they want to sell - he will then make the outline application - he doesn't own any land himself. I say "he" but he does it all through a limited company which, so far as I can tell, is formed to make the application then, when it's completed, dissolved until the next land is found.

Mechta
25th Nov 2014, 17:42
Why would we want more houses? As Springheeled jack says, build more and more will come.

We would be better off taking a long term lease on some empty land somewhere else in the world which doesn't require heating for half the year and building a new state with UK law for those that want to move there. Hong Kong has proven that a piece of land with minimal natural resources can be made habitable and successful if the will to do so is there.

As with office blocks in London, it is often easier and cheaper to start from scratch than to try and adapt the existing infrastructure to modern standards and needs.

airship
25th Nov 2014, 17:44
But wouldn't building more houses also involve more immigration by eastern-European plumbers, brick-layers, electricians etc.?

You know, the usual benefit scroungers and free-riders, according to UKIP and even David Cameron...?! :rolleyes:

MG23
25th Nov 2014, 17:58
MG23 seems to have overlooked that a very large percentage of the UK landmass just isn't suitable for building upon.

Again, roughly 2% of Britain is residential development. Even if you need the same amount of room again for infrastructure, that's only 4%.

Are you really claiming that you can't find a whole 4% of the country that can be built on? That could double the housing in the UK, and the land could hardly be worse than the flood plains that planners have been letting people build on, even though they were inevitably going to flood, being flood plains and all.

Britain has some of the smallest, worst housing in the developed world, and it's down to NIMBYs who don't want the riff-raff spoiling their view, lefties who don't want the working class getting ideas above their station, and owners who don't want house prices to collapse. It's one of the main reasons I left.

LeftBlank
25th Nov 2014, 18:01
If your experience is based on the odd village in Norfolk or Lincolnshire then you may believe there is room. There is also probably room for housing in North Scotland or parts of Wales.
My experience of being based on the European Mainland for 2 years then coming back recently was one of shock at how overpopulated England is now. The Green Belt laws are the last bastion we have to protect the disappearance of what is left of what was once a green and pleasant land but is most definitely no longer.
Fly over England south of 52N on a very clear night around FL100 and you'll realise the country is full.
Commute between Heathrow,Gatwick and Stansted 24/7 and you will realise the country is full.:(

Shaggy Sheep Driver
25th Nov 2014, 18:10
Where do you get your figures from, MG23?

And does your 2% include floor areas of buildings only? A far bigger area is blighted by development than the square footage of the floor areas of the new buildings!

Get up in the air and have a look! Try flying around UK at 50 feet and see if you get filmed, reported etc! If 98% of UK is deserted you should be able to do that all day without attracting anyone's attention. My guess is you'd be rumbled in the first mile or so!

Sallyann1234
25th Nov 2014, 18:23
Residents are constantly fire-fighting speculative new-build proposals in the green belt or on agricultural land where it was never intended planning permission would be granted. If permission is denied, the developers of course appeal these local planning decisions and often it ends up with the Planning Inspector in the south east, or even the Secretary of State. They are remote, don't understand local issues, and often give consent against local planners' wishes.

That's a pretty good description of HS2's planning decisions, but of course those residents were just selfish NIMBYs weren't they. :E

PTT
25th Nov 2014, 18:26
6.8% of the UK is urban. 10.6% of England, 3.4% of Northern Ireland, 1.9% of Scotland and 4.2% of Wales.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/28_06_12_uk_national_ecosystem.pdf, see page 60 for further breakdown. The document is only hosted by the BBC, not written by them.

27mm
25th Nov 2014, 18:56
While we're talking about housing, why are modern houses built with garages that have to be used for storage, as they are certainly not wide enough for a car? Even if you can squeeze one in, it's all but impossible to get in/out of it. Even double garages are just 2 standard ones adjacent to each other. Crazy.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
25th Nov 2014, 18:56
Sallyanne.

Yes, they are.

SpringHeeledJack
25th Nov 2014, 19:09
While we're talking about housing, why are modern houses built with garages that have to be used for storage, as they are certainly not wide enough for a car? Even if you can squeeze one in, it's all but impossible to get in/out of it. Even double garages are just 2 standard ones adjacent to each other. Crazy.

You can then legally say that the house has a garage, there's no legal requirement for it to be of certain specific dimensions. You don't own a Fiat 500 ? Tough! :ouch: I'd say in this day and age, most people either don't want or need a garage for their Ziebarted (?) vehicle which is protected from the elements and see the 'garage' as a storage area, something that is highly prized, especially in miserly proportioned new builds with little internal storage areas. Many are the men suffering from DSS (Depleted Space Syndrome) when having moved in with their woman find that the shared closets/cupboards have no room due to the shoe and dress avalanche :}


SHJ

ZOOKER
25th Nov 2014, 19:10
Never mind the 900+ houses on just under half of EGCD...It's the 2300 houses which are planned between those houses and the A34.
Where will their occupants be employed one wonders?
Don't worry we are told, "the new A555 link road is going to create 11,000 new jobs".
Total bobbins.

G-CPTN
25th Nov 2014, 19:32
SSD is absolutely right. I live in rural Staffordshire and the villages are facing an onslaught of developers.If the planning applications are successful [ and they often are ] the villages become just another urban sprawl with overloaded roads, drainage, schools, medical facilities and so on.
There is little, or no, employment in the countryside so people have no option but to travel, often considerable distances.
MG23 seems to have overlooked that a very large percentage of the UK landmass just isn't suitable for building upon.
My recent experience of opposing development applications has made me even more cynical of democracy. Planning committees tend to take the reports of planning officers without question. Those individuals seem to lean over backwards to encourage the developers - they certainly have far too cosy a relationship with them.
What is particularly unfair is that only developers can appeal a Local Authority decision - objectors to the application can't. And it's the Authority that bears the costs of the appeal [ which possibly explains the planning officers' attitude]. Everything is loaded in favour of developers. In one example of an application in my locality, a developer has been knocking on the doors of people living near open fields, asking if they want to sell - he will then make the outline application - he doesn't own any land himself. I say "he" but he does it all through a limited company which, so far as I can tell, is formed to make the application then, when it's completed, dissolved until the next land is found.
Exactly the same here in Northumberland.
Our village has been told to expect 300 new houses, and the signs are that the planners will recommend granting planning permission (it is their figures that stipulate the 300 figure).
There is no 'new' employment opportunities, so the houses will be 'dormitories' for commuters to the city 20 miles away.
The local primary school is full and has no space for expansion. Local children have to travel to nearby settlements for schooling, so where are the additional children expected to be educated (or will the five-bedroomed houses be occupied by families with adult children - with their own cars)?

A recent planning application for 54 dwellings was 'agreed' before the application was submitted (as was obvious from our dealings with the planners and the utilities). More houses means more Council Tax and more Water Rates and Electricity Bills, so more income for the council and the utilities.
When the application went to the planning committee, every one expressed their disapproval but admitted that to refuse the application would merely result in an appeal.
Now we have a 'speculator' (not a developer - merely an enabler) about to lodge an application for 237 houses (the balance of the 300 once other recently-granted permissions have been subtracted) despite the fact that the single access conflicts with the school access and around 200 vehicles will be expected to leave during the morning rush hour when the pupils are arriving and walking along the road, having been dropped-off at the entrance to the estate (there isn't room for cars to park nearer the school).

VP959
25th Nov 2014, 19:45
Many of the villages around here, (and many more further West in Dorset, Somerset and South Devon) have up to 50% or so of homes as second homes. Their owners contribute sod-all to the local economy, and help to push up house price inflation.

A good start would be to impose exorbitant taxes on second homes. Really exorbitant, such that it doesn't make financial sense to own a home that's only used for a few weeks a year.

Not only do these holiday homes push up prices, but they create additional problems. For example, our village has a brook running through it, and it is the responsibility of all riparian owners to keep their part of the brook clear of weeds etc in winter, to reduce the flood risk. Sadly, the holiday home owners don't do this, so other volunteers need to step in, in order to prevent flood risk damage.

Loose rivets
26th Nov 2014, 00:50
Mmmm . . . nine to five, or six or seven, then back on the tube to a tiny 'first home.' I know I'd long to be heading for my second home the moment I broke free form the metropolis.

Loose rivets
26th Nov 2014, 01:11
A long time ago I started a thread - Who are all these people? It was based on my understanding of the UK's population growth in my lifetime.

I vagualy recall 47 million when I was eight. 50 million when I was ten - an easy one to remember since I was ten in 1950. About the time of the post it was supposed to be, 62 million. I didn't believe it, and still don't. However, the daftest die-hard in the ministry of daft people can't believe the figures now. Move the slider up and down if you want a laugh.

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=population+of+the+uk


The thing is, so many young people have no idea what it was like when this country needed immigration. It was kind of . . . empty. I used to drive home on the M4 after a week of training bods for one of the incarnations of Air Wales. Nice it was, I'd cook my dinner on the manifold and stop on a deserted motorway at the point I knew it would be cooked to a T. Some nights I'd cross London from Tottenham to LGW and not see a soul at 2AM. I'd grumble like hell at the traffic lights as I stopped for no one.

For a while in 1970 I commuted by air from Luton to Frinton. (East Essex coast.) The guys at Stansted looked forward to having someone to talk to, and said as much.

"They came off the farms." Cobblers. My mum was a local landowner's secretary for years, and it's astonishing how few full time farmers there were. I recall her saying she'd paid part-timers a penny-h'penny a row for hoeing. Quiet old days.

Where there were clusters of people, they seemed to produce things, like Paxman diesels and Colchester lathes. Then they'd all cycle home to tiny homes and the wireless. Then came telly. Wanting material objects is obvious, but I think it made them realize one could enjoy sex more than twice a month. I think it was television that ruined everything.

G-CPTN
26th Nov 2014, 01:50
In the mid 1960s/very early 1970s I was living in or near Luton (Harpenden) and would drive down to and through London to reach Brands Hatch, striaght down Edgeware Road then Park Lane and across Vauxhall Bridge (and vice versa).
Of course there was no M25, but there was no congestion - in fact there was seldom any traffic on Park Lane worth remarking about.

Sometimes I would drive my visitors around London to 'see the tourist sights' - all without encountering traffic.

A night out would be to drive down to pubs in Docklands (Prospect of Whitby?) or several in Central London (Piccadilly) or that excellent Chinese Restaurant at the bottom of Edgeware Road or Greek Street - parking outside or a very short walk away without problems.

I cannot imagine that with today's traffic.

Krystal n chips
26th Nov 2014, 06:23
" Already many large villas in extensive grounds have been razed and replaced by estates of cheek-by-jowl boxes. Woodford Airfield, surplus to BAe requirements is to be a developers' bonanza; a fine runway, control tower, and approach aids

That's quite emotive really,,, "razed to the ground" sounds like a riot took place.....rather than flogged off by their owners for a not inconsiderable sum.

Woodford was always destined to become homes, with a bit of industrial estate chucked in for good measure....no point in wasting those somewhat ancient hangars and new office blocks after all. And lets face it, the local population just about tolerated the place when it was operational...so they would be have apoplectic if flying had continued as a GA airfield.

Ah, the A555....from nowhere to nowhere.....but part of the fabled A6 relief road....."still in the planning stage" and no doubt will be for many years, despite approval etc.

In this part of the world, the locals kindly proclaimed their disgust at new homes, including a den of iniquity called a retirement village, as they would attract.....outsiders !.....which would be terrible in this rather insular Mail reading Utopia...... and the retirement village ?....aesthetics are everything...thus, from a local councillor no less "they look like M.o.D sheds"....and the site would generate so much extra traffic, the whole area would gridlock ! .

The homes are being built....thankfully.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 09:51
I was on the planning committee from 1986 until 2004.In those days people would apply for "Infill" permission to build on bits of land.The Council Officers hated it and quickly thought up ruses such as Conservation Areas to "Protect the environment".

Then they dreamed up "Unsustainability" to prevent development in places not already clogged with traffic.One of these officers lives in my village in the old rectory.I have no doubt that it was part paid for by one of the big developers.
A couple of years after I stood down a Tory councillor approached me and claimed he had been offered money for his vote on a new development.I though he was losing his marbles,I'm not sure though.

Loose rivets
26th Nov 2014, 12:12
I had hoped to buy a rectory in Norfolk. It was a vast red brick Victorian building with substantial grounds. I recall the owners sounding dismayed when mentioning that the nearby village might have new homes built at 8 per acre.

I went back three days running and still could not map out the rooms from memory - and I was fairly nifty at doing that. It was beautifully built with stone mullions and an enormous sump in the cellar to keep the building dry. On the day we were to exchange contracts, he phoned and said he was selling it to the Methodist church. My fault, I simply did not know how to interact with people in those days and probably came over as a kid with too much money. Yep, a mass of money. 18,500 quid. And that's not a mistake.


Talking of Woodford, a lovely old gentleman, the Bishop of Woodford, chatted to me as he showed me around his Frinton home which was for sale. It was stunning, with two and a bit acres of lovely garden sloping onto the golf course. I seem to remember 9 bed, five bath, but could be wrong. Built between the wars to a fabulous standard, the estate agent told me he'd counted nearly a thousand panes of glass while he waited for one client. The Reverend gentleman told me a sad tale. "I kept this place on thinking my children might come down for holidays . . . but they never did." I could never understand why they wouldn't avail themselves of a bit of heaven on Earth. And he was so charming. What could they have had that was better? Now I know how he feels, with my lot spread across the Atlantic. Anyway, the Rivetess and I waited nervously for his letter with his final price. We we hoping for 60k, but his handwritten letter suggested 80k. We headed off up the road back to my endless building project.

Funny old life really. As I sit alone in a borrowed bungalow wondering what to do with myself, I can't quite imagine being that young fella. It's odd how things change - especially as for most of my life I made a profit on my homes and toys. Cars, (mostly) motorbikes and aircraft (singular) made money and of course, houses made quite antisocial gains. Just one period of thinking I'd spread the money around a bit to get the kids started and the whole lot collapsed. They'd have been so much better off waiting for me to pop off, but I must stress, they didn't ask, it was my bright idea. Absolutely no concept of the world's economy being able to change so radically in the blink of an eye.

Despite being the worst person in the world to give advice, the point of this ramble is to suggest never allowing oneself to be without a home. Back out of chains, be as hard as hell on a deal, but never, ever, allow the family home to be part of speculation unless it's in a solid chain. Who could imagine the biggest increase in house prices we've had in the UK, would follow the biggest increase in house prices we'd had for many years? Then, to crown it all, the banks would get to use your money for free? It had me fooled.

Off to the yacht club bar.



.

Blacksheep
26th Nov 2014, 14:07
Blacksheep, The Detached houses type A to E would be just the job for the Thames valley floodplains.Indeed. Most new builds in the equatorial regions are built on stilts. For very good reasons.

In fact, most of those houses get the gaps between the stilts bricked in to create a new ground floor living space within a copule of years of occupation. Then a couple of years later they get covered patio extensions and after maturing a development looks like this . . .

http://www.bt.com.bn/sites/default/files/styles/600x450-watermark/public/images/front/B2%20lambak.jpg?itok=gLz9nnSy




That is a public housing project in one country where government land is turned over to low-cost public housing development, to improve the living conditions of the local population.

Pretty nice for "Public Housing" [or "Council Estate" as we say in Britain], eh?

As I put forward earlier - it is the use of "Green Belt" to prevent urban expansion and preserve the value of landlords' properties that is responsible for Britain's housing "crisis".

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Nov 2014, 14:31
As I put forward earlier - it is the use of "Green Belt" to prevent urban expansion and preserve the value of landlords' properties that is responsible for Britain's housing "crisis".

Blacksheep, have a look at post #18. There you will find what the greenbelt is really for.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 15:02
They missed off the unwritten one

6.To prevent the hoi polloi from intruding into the lives of those who have already made it.

We constantly hear about "The politics of envy" Well greenbelt represents the politics of jealousy.We've got it and you are not having it.

G-CPTN
26th Nov 2014, 15:38
Low-end housing is now classed as 'affordable' with rental (what was called council-housing) called 'social housing' - now typically owned and operated by a Housing Association rather than council-owned.
New housing developments are expected to provide around one-third of 'affordable' housing, with some of those for sale (often shared-equity where the Housing Association retains part-ownership) and the remainder available for people on the housing register to rent.

Our local demand for affordable housing is predominantly for single-bedroom properties, but no developer is interested in building these, preferring multi-bedroom (4-5 bedroom) houses.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Nov 2014, 16:00
Are you a developer, EM? Why else would you be happy to have no green belt and the countryside disappear under concrete?

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 16:15
I have done a couple of self builds but that isn't the reason why I believe regulations should be eased.If you operate a laissez faire system it should apply throughout not just the bits that suit your purpose.

The land element of a development is currently equal to the build cost.Easing planning controls could knock a third off house prices in many areas making houses affordable to young people.

And of course the green belt wouldn't disappear.My village is three miles from the next.Expanding it by a couple of hundred metres would be neither here nor there.

PTT
26th Nov 2014, 16:38
If you operate a laissez faire system it should apply throughout not just the bits that suit your purpose.Why? Surely the whole point of having a system is that it should suit your purpose. If it doesn't then the system is wrong.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 16:48
Depends on the "Your" .For me it should mean everyone.It should apply just as much to those youngsters working hard to get a house only to find the prices moving away as fast as they save the deposit.

Interesting to see affordable housing mentioned.Near me an ex council 3 bed semi went on the market for £325k.Build cost,about £60k.

PTT
26th Nov 2014, 16:50
I agree that it depends on the "your", which is why we vote people in who decide what the system is, ideally meaning that the "your" in question is representative of as many people as possible. None of which validates the contention that laissez faire should apply throughout.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 17:06
Strictly speaking you are correct.Home ownership in the UK peaked around the turn of the century at 69%.Since then it has fallen back to the low sixties.
It remains however a case of the haves legislating against the have nots.

Personally speaking it wouldn't bother me if house prices fell.I would probably lose the 25% increase that my property has seen since 2011,but I never had that money anyway except on paper.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Nov 2014, 17:14
That is very true, and kind of undermines your theory that the Greenbelt is some sort of protection scheme by house owners to maintain property values.

If the value of all houses fell by 90% overnight, in what way would I be worse off? I can't sell our house unless I replace it with another, as it's where we live. So its value is entirely notional; it's not a pile of ready cash one can spend.

It's our kids who'd lose out when we croak, not us. In fact, despite that, I'd like to see property prices fall significantly to help my kids get on the ladder. And I'm a great supporter of proper development planning, including total protection of the green belt.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 18:05
I think you might find we are in the minority though.I think the average Mail reader would have apoplexy at the idea of his house falling in value.

G-CPTN
26th Nov 2014, 18:15
Personally speaking it wouldn't bother me if house prices fell.

In 1981 I moved to Denmark to live and work.

The Danish company that employed me were keen to see me settled and did their best to persuade me to buy a house.
The deal was attractive, with house prices much lower than the UK, but I had promised the family that this was 'just for three years' initially, so we let our UK house and rented in Denmark.
At the end of the three years, we decided to return to the UK.
House prices in Denmark had stagnated, and there were many 'forced auctions' due to repossessions (interest rates were high - very high).

Had we bought the excellent new-build house (fully-fitted with kitchen whiteware) we would have been banjaxed - as brand new identical houses were still being built on the same estate - with prices 30% lower than we would have paid three years earlier and there were many secondhand houses 'For Sale' on the Danish estate at prices even lower than the new ones by people desperate to divest themselves of the loans before they were called-in - whilst our house in the UK had continued to increase in 'value' during our absence.

Carry0nLuggage
26th Nov 2014, 18:16
EM - And then another couple of hundred metres and another and another... Meanwhile the next village is doing the same thing until you can drive from your village to the next without noticing.

Effluent Man
26th Nov 2014, 18:32
A strip 200m square 4 hectares would provide in excess of 100 houses at current rates of density,about a 50% increase in my village population.

Flying Lawyer
27th Nov 2014, 00:08
Effluent Man

You say more development should be permitted in your Norfolk village, and I assume you would apply the same principle to all villages.
Who do you see as potential purchasers of all these additional properties?
Norfolk has a relatively elderly age profile. Do young people leave because of a shortage of affordable housing or a shortage of employment opportunities?

As I understand it, about 30% of Norfolk's workforce is based in/around Norwich where a significant proportion, more than 30%, are employed in the Business & Financial sector - Norwich being a very large general insurance centre. About 25% are employed in public services.
Where would young people tempted to stay in Norfolk by more affordable housing find work? The number employed in public services would have to increase if the population expanded but that would not be sufficient to accommodate the increase in people who need employment.
Those with second homes in the county don't need jobs locally; they buy weekend/holiday homes to escape from the pressures of living and working elsewhere, often London.

Property and land are cheaper in areas where fewer people want - or need - to live.
Based upon figures you've mentioned, your property - in an AONB - appears to be worth about £650k which suggests a 4-5 bedroom detached house with a large garden.
£650k in London would buy a large terraced house in an 'inexpensive' area or, in a mid range area, a smaller house or large flat.
The same sum could also have bought this property (http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9802259.ece/alternates/w620/allsop%201.png) not far from us for £550k leaving the remaining £100k to spend on converting it into a ground floor and basement 2 bedroom dwelling. (Planning consent already obtained.)

Another example of demand and supply (and of what some regard as the absurdity and unfairness of a national 'mansion' tax) -
Offers over £2.62 million are invited for this fabulous estate in Scotland: Full details and pics (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-30510309.html?premiumA=true#)
A few streets from us (Chelsea) this un-modernised 2 bedroom terraced house (http://media.rightmove.co.uk/82k/81689/45120956/81689_52fb41aa96710_IMG_00_0000.jpg) (previously owned by an old couple who had lived there for 30 years), with 'garden' (http://media.rightmove.co.uk/82k/81689/45120956/81689_52fb41aa96710_IMG_05_0000.jpg), was sold last month for £2.62 million. (House with red door. The wide angle lens makes it look much bigger than it actually is.)

Increasing the volume of affordable housing is a laudable objective but is of more limited benefit in areas where there is not a corresponding availability of employment opportunities. Increasing both would certainly help, but increasing just one?



Edited to add -

Copied from another thread: 'if anyone would like to live in the part of Islington popular with champagne socialists and can't raise circa £3 million to buy one of the large houses, a smaller cheaper property just around the corner was recently snapped up within three weeks of being put on the market. It went for £275,000. A snip!
Just one down side.
The one-room house is so small, 188 sq ft, that the resident(s) have to climb on the kitchen units to reach the bed which is suspended above the sitting room/kitchen!
I kid you not. Pictures (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/is-this-londons-smallest-home-oneroom-property-on-market-for-275000-9716787.html)
The same property in Kensington, Chelsea or Knightsbridge would have fetched about three times that.

Loose rivets
27th Nov 2014, 02:02
That reminds me of an architect that divided a substantial house into four flats. He was astonished at the letting values so he developed a 4' side building into a long skinny flat. I'm going back to an article in the Sunday Times 20 years ago but I seem to remember he could hinge down his drawing board and take a shower in the recessed area just inside the front door. I wonder where he put the welcome mat.


Then in more recent times, there was the janitor's closet. It happened to have a foul sewer line and cold water supply but was derelict. Anyone remember how much that fetched? I seem to remember c 250k.

A bit different to my flat in a road that links the Cromwell road and Kensington High street. I shared with a girl there and we paid 4 pounds 10 shillings a week in 1965 -ish.

oldpax
27th Nov 2014, 02:14
My living room is a large open plan affair about 40square metres ,house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms plus a maids room/office ,we have a garden about 120 square metres (would take two small bungalows),all this for about 100,000 pounds and we are planning to build a house in the country on our three acres of land(cost 3000 pounds in 2000!!).
Downside to this is its in Thailand!!

Jetex_Jim
27th Nov 2014, 05:41
The high cost of houses in Britain relates to supply and demand, of course.
But in this case it is the supply of credit, not actual property.

As long as credit it easily obtainable prices will rise, it's that simple.
That's what keeps bankers rich and home buyers poor.

And, should those 'too big to fail' banks lend foolishly to people who cannot pay their debts, well there's always the taxpayer to bail them out. And this dear friends is called privatising the profits while socialising the losses.

Effluent Man
27th Nov 2014, 09:19
FL,
I'm sorry,it was remiss of me,but I never updated my profile.In 2011 I sold my business and moved to the Suffolk coast.I am not far from a coastal resort called Southwold ,aka Islington-on-sea. The prices are pretty eye watering, matching some of the better parts of London.

The result has been that people have moved.If you look at Rightmove you will see that what makes half a million in Southwold sells for about 25% of that ten miles to the North.Consequently local people cannot afford to live there.

The local planners have restricted consents to such an extent that all that gets permission is brownfield sites and apartments costing £500k + get built.

Flying Lawyer
27th Nov 2014, 15:53
Understood re moving, but what do you say about the rest of my response to your argument?
The same principles apply to Suffolk and many other areas of the country.

Suffolk appears to have a higher proportion of its workforce employed in the Manufacturing sector than Norfolk but many people are employed part-time because they can't find full-time jobs.
Also, unemployment amongst young people in Suffolk appears to be quite high. Would that not increase if more of them stayed instead of moving elsewhere to obtain work?

Effluent Man
27th Nov 2014, 18:31
FL, Some valid points and some astute working out.What queers the pitch is that the largest town,Lowestoft,lost virtually all it's industry across the nineteen eighties.

It had two shipbuilders,a large electronics factory (Sanyo),A major bus manufacturer,an industrial heavy electrical company,three major food processing factories in addition to a substantial fishing industry.Today only one food producer remains.

The unemployment situation however isn't exactly what it appears.As the employment disappeared a rash of entrepreneurs bought up much of the substantial Victorian/Edwardian housing in the town and converted them to bedsits.

One advert placed by them in the Liverpool Echo offered housing and assistance with claiming benefits.This in turn resulted in an explosion in drugs in the town.It is something that will be familiar to people living in coastal towns around Britain.

With Right to Buy the town sucked in those from the surrounding villages as low cost rental housing disappeared.The unemployed are largely unskilled and with few qualifications.What work is available is largely taken by Eastern Europeans.

Flying Lawyer
27th Nov 2014, 20:53
Thanks for response.
Sadly, what you describe is not uncommon in many parts of the country.

I suspect the £550,000 shed I mentioned in post 60 may be a Buy to Let project, but the rent is likely to reduce the risk of some of the problems you mentioned.
The tenant will probably be the mirror image of the weekend/holiday home in the country profile discussed earlier - a pad for a very wealthy businessman/woman from the provinces to use while on business trips to London.

Good discussion.

Effluent Man
27th Nov 2014, 21:20
Buy to let seems well out of kilter in different parts.In the North where houses regularly sell for £50-£60k rents still are in the £450 -£500 a month range bringing a 10%+ return.Around here that sort of property is around the £100k mark but rents are hardly any higher.