Nonsense About Planning
YOU knew it was coming: as soon as someone suggests that perhaps having only 2% of England covered with houses we might make 3% of the country so covered….to bring down house prices, provide everyone with a garden, that sort of thing….those who already have large houses with large gardens will complain.
You know, the “concreting over of the countryside”, the National Trust on the march, all that. My problem with these people is not just that I don’t believe some of their arguments: I don’t believe that they’re stupid enough to believe their own:
That policy exceeded all expectations, with up to 80 per cent of new homes constructed on such “brownfield land” in recent years – up from 55 per cent in 1989. Between 1995 and 2007, 117 square miles of it were developed for housing; had this been on “greenfield land” instead, an area of open countryside more than six times the size of Southampton would have been swallowed up.
117 square miles “saved” eh? Out of the 50,000 that make up the country. That’s an entire 0.2% of the country so saved over a 12 year time period. Why, it would take us over a century to build so many houses on so much green field land that we’d have only 96% of it that wasn’t housing! Appalling is it not?
What else was it that happened in that 12 year period? Ah, yes, that was the ever soaring cost of housing, wasn’t it? The largest real (as opposed to not counting inflation) price rise ever in our history in fact, a price rise which has left the average bloke without rich grandparents entirely incapable of ever purchasing the roof above his own head.
These people are touting this as a successful policy? Jeebus, wonder what they’d recommend if they really wanted to screw us over?
Look, housing is really, really simple. It costs a bloody fortune. The largest part of the cost, at least in the South where people want to live, is not the land it sits upon and it’s most certainly not the cost of building the actual house. No, the largest cost is the planning permission, the little piece of paper that says you’re allowed to build a house on that piece of land there.
So, issue more pieces of paper and the price of housing will come down. The really just isn’t rocket science you know?