Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gordon Brown takes over as PM.

So its finally happened and Gordon Brown has taken over from Tony Blair as Prime Minister. The next 3 months will be an interesting period as the new Prime Minister sets the agenda for the rest of the parliament. He has already said that Health and Housing will be top priorities. But what changes will be made. The house price boom has been mostly driven by increased demand and increased population. Opening up new areas for increasing supply of houses will be crucial in reducing housing shortages. On health the Labour government has put a huge amount of investment into the NHS. Massive improvement have been made without the government getting credit for the improvements in waiting times, pay, numbers of doctors and dentist etc.
Perhaps a new health secretary can change that.

2 comments:

A tory desperate to prove he can get on this site! said...

This from the Institute of Economic Affairs And there are other risks facing property owners. One new development near Leeds is squeezed in between a busy dual-carriageway and a railway line. It also sits underneath a run of electricity pylons. Unfortunately, such substandard sites are all too common thanks to current planning policies.

High density housing also has negative consequences. Small gaps between homes mean that nuisance from neighbours is more likely. Everyday annoyances such as screaming children, loud music and unpleasant cooking smells are far more intense when households live cheek by jowl.

While housing in other developed countries has been gradually improving over the last few decades, this has hardly been the case in the UK. Regulations mean that Britain's new homes are now the smallest in Western Europe. They are probably smaller now than they were in the 1930s when the country was only a quarter as rich.

It is also notable that the planners have severely limited the size of gardens in new developments. This doesn't seem sensible in the light of government exhortations that children should play more sport. In many new developments there simply isn't room for the games of football and cricket that helped ensure physical fitness in previous generations.

In locations where new private developments border older council estates, such as Sunnyside in Rotherham, the contrast is particularly marked. The council houses, many of them occupied free of charge through the housing benefit system, often have larger gardens than the new private homes.

Many council tenants are also benefiting from the Government's lavish Decent Homes initiative. They are getting brand new kitchens, bathrooms, central heating systems and double glazing.

Meanwhile, their owner-occupier neighbours are working hard to pay expensive mortgages to obtain the same facilities, as well as subsidising the council tenants through their taxes.

This policy undermines the Government's stated aim of providing incentives for people to move away from welfare dependency and into work.

There is therefore a strong economic and environmental case for liberalising planning and building regulations. Allowing developers to build larger new houses on more spacious plots would help ensure that today's younger generation can enjoy the same standard of housing as their parents.

While liberalisation would involve using more greenfield sites, this is preferable to cramming more houses into urban areas and making our cities more congested, with less and less open space.

The environment of homeowners would also be dramatically improved. Lower densities would reduce the impact of neighbourhood nuisances and facilitate the large gardens that are ideal for family life.

The development of poor quality brownfield sites next to rivers at risk of flooding as well as roads, railways or crime-ridden social housing estates would no longer be necessary. Britons could enjoy the high quality of housing that is taken for granted in other industrialised nations.

If the Government wants to reduce carbon emissions, it
should tackle them directly rather than imposing complex and expensive regulations on housing and other sectors.

There are effective ways to reduce carbon emissions while actually benefiting the economy. These include reducing power consumption within the public sector, raising VAT on domestic fuel to the standard rate (with compensatory tax cuts elsewhere) and reducing foreign aid when it causes deforestation. Such measures would be far more effective than cramming homeowners into small houses on tiny plots

I dont recognise all the strictures, I cant think when Hull Planning committee last said "reduce those gardens" but there is a point here

John Fareham said...

I think I saw this article. It has much to commned it. Decent housing is imperative. We probably argue the definition not the substance.

I can assure my fellow "comrade" that the Hull planning committee, made up of members from all political persuasions, has not told a developer to make a garden smaller. Indeed we have, broadly, resisted developments proposed for building in or on gardens.