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River Man

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Posts posted by River Man

  1. The attractions of Brighton are pretty obvious - it's not just the nightlife, it's also the amount of cultural activities going on (such as the Brighton festival) - music, theatre, comedy etc.

    Nowhere else in England - well perhaps Manchester - has such an amount going on in such a compact area. Plus, it's an hour from London, has one of the best climates in the UK, and has lots of beautiful areas with Regency and Georgian squares and houses.

    I think some visitors fail to realise how many quiet pretty enclaves there are around Brighton & Hove, which are very different to the admittedly busy centre.

    I also disagree that is not a place to bring up children. I wouldn't do it in the central areas admittedly but Hove is a brilliant place to bring up kids. I know from experience! (See Lewes as well, although admittedly more separate, and even more amazingly expensive).

    Brighton's economy is much better than it used to be, and has held up much better than many places during the recession. Having said that, wages are quite low, but I think that is as much to do with the number of young people than anything else.

  2. 1) WOW! 30 plots per hectare not including roads???!!!

    You mean 10,000 m2 / 30 = 333.33 m2 / plot = say 10 m x 33m !!!

    You sir are posh. Respect. You must be over 40.

    I was thinking of terrace houses, with plots of 125m2.

    5 m wide (enough for 2 cars on the drive), and 25 m long (5m front garden, 10m house, 10m back garden)

    2) I don't know what do you consider "SE", but even if we restrict it to, say 70 miles from central London ( = 100km, for easy maths ) that means 31,416 sq.km. Not your "19,096" sq km.

    So, 2 million plots of 125 m2 each = 250 million sq.m = 250 sq.km.

    250 / 31 416 = 0.007957 = 0.7%

    Less than 1%. :)


    And we are talking about allowing more living space for the younger generation, remember? We are NOT talking about importing more people to fill up these houses. So, no need for more work space, public services, etc.

    Wake up. Read the thread first. I did say that above.


    Or are you a VI?

    People's conceptions of average density are a bit skewed by city centre schemes. In England as a whole the average density was 43 dph in 2007-2010, up from 38 in 03-06. It's 41 in the South East.

    However this is skewed by a few areas. The average density of new develpoment in the suburban south east is much lower. So GUildford - 20 dph. Mid Sussex - 34 dph. Reigate & Banstead - 30 dph. You're talking about developmetn at much higher densities than now.

    You can see the figures in the 'density' tables here:


    I have to take you up on the last point - "no need for more work space, public services, etc.". This is just simply wrong. Imagine you build a 1,000-unit scheme in Mid Sussex north of Brighton. It fills up with young people living in Brighton or London who can't afford to buy there. Are they going to drive back to where they used to live to go to the supermarket or local shops? Or will they clog up the streets of Burgess Hill when they nip out to buy a paper? Where will their kids go to school when they partner up and reproduce - will they be bussed into Brighton en masse? If they need to drive everywhere to go to services then we'll need more road capacity and a lot more parking, which will be difficult to provide at the density you suggest.

    I'm not a VI, I'm on your side, but the situation is a tad more complicated than you suggest.

  3. There are thousands of land owners in Britain. It would be impossible for them to organise a cartel, without the planning system doing that for them. The rewards for the first to sell plots would be too tempting. Remember, the first to sell would profit the most. ("Games theory" must have a name for this.)

    The enemy is the planning system.

    I tend to agree. However, we are the only Western European nation without a minimum size for new homes.

    The late Victorians had by-laws which gave minimum standards for ceiling heights, room sizes, house sizes etc. I Think they may have persisted to the 1930s. That is also partly the reason why earlier houses are larger. (as well as planning)

    Incidentally the housebuilders do have a lot of land around cities sewn up in options which would take a long time to unpick, even if we abandoned the planning system tomorrow. Then we'd have the problem that landowners near cities would have to get used to lower land values - it might take them a while to decide it's wroth it to sell, rather than simply waiting until prices go higher.

    It's our planning system, not a planning system, that is the problem: the Dutch have a really prohibitive, dictatorial planning system and yet they build much, much more then we do. The Belgians have a very limited one and their housing is not as good quality as their neighbours to the East.

  4. IIRC 2 million new houses would use much less than 1% of the South-east land. Including the roads.

    Hang on. 2 million houses at say, 30 dwellings per hectare, requires 66,666 hectares or 667 sq km. The land area of the south east is 19096 sq km, so the land area required is 3.5%, and that's not taking into account roads, schools, other infrastructure, etc etc, shops

    if we drop it to 20 dwellings per hectare - the figure increases to 5.2%.

  5. Since I moved to the USA, I've come to realise that people - in general - consider 30 minutes to be a little too long to commute. When I lived in Kent, a 2 hour door-to-door journey was pretty much expected.

    That may be true in some parts of the USA, but having spent time working in New York and LA, some of my colleagues did commutes that were mind-bogglingly long and arduous even by London standards.

  6. Bloody boomers.

    Free education, jobs for life, cheap property, big pensions......dirty bastards.

    The boomers are all passing on now after raping the planet for 70 years. Well done, but you're a long time dead.

    "Baby boomers" is a phrase nicked from the US where their birth rate peaked in teh late 1940s/ early 1950s.

    The peak in post-war UK fertility was 1965. Our baby boomers are currenly 47, not in their 70s.

  7. According to the BBC an 'anarchist' is someone who smashes windows in central London because they refuse to countenance the slightest reduction is state spending growth.

    "There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" — recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies." The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it?" - Noam Chomsky

    "Libertarians complain that the state is parasitic, an excrescence on society. They think it’s like a tumor you could cut out, leaving the patient just as he was, only healthier. They’ve been mystified by their own metaphors. Like the market, the state is an activity, not an entity. The only way to abolish the state is to change the way of life it forms a part of. That way of life, if you call that living, revolves around work and takes in bureaucracy, moralism, schooling, money, and more. Libertarians are conservatives because they avowedly want to maintain most of this mess and so unwittingly perpetuate the rest of the racket. But they’re bad conservatives because they’ve forgotten the reality of institutional and ideological interconnection which was the original insight of the historical conservatives." - Bob Black

    "Even if you want no state, or a minimal state, then you have to argue point by point. Especially since the minimalists want to keep the economic and police system that keeps them privileged. That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves. No! If you want to make the minimum-state case, you have to argue it from the ground up. "

  8. Interesting - that sounds a bit like the Scottish right to roam, along with the Victorian (and before - my history isn't accurate here) judgement of building/being too close to another building. It sounds like a good rule.

    Insurance doesn't have to be compulsory, but paying an insurance company serves two purposes. One, it means you get paid if damages are due. Two, they will chase the offender for the money owed in damages.

    Therefore, you don't need to have insurance, but then you would need to take the offender to court yourself, if you thought damages were due. You would also have to extract payment from the offender, should they be guilty, but still refuse to pay. The insurance company is essentially insuring against the cost of non-payment of damages.

    As the roads would be privately owned (commonly/mutually or individually), the road operator would likely be liable for damages, if they didn't ensure people drove on the correct side of the road. Ofc, the offending driver would primarily be liable, but I doubt the road owner(s) would be exempt of blame, if they didn't take appropriate precautions against dangerous driving.

    As compensation for killing someone would likely be high, economically it wouldn't be a good idea to let nut cases drive on the wrong side of your roads. It also wouldn't be economical to be the driver, driving on the wrong side of the road. Finally, even if you were rich, you would likely be ostracised for killing people 'for fun' and I wouldn't be surprised if someone wanted an eye for an eye in the long run.

    meanwhile, you'd be busy raging against the coercion and oppression and general infringement of my liberties produced by your court system and all its hangers-on and bureaucrats, which has become so massively expensive to fund as a result of all normal state responsibilites being passed on to it that it consumes 60% of GDP and the bulk of most people and companies' time and effort.

  9. I very much agree with this.

    I have reached the conclusion that you can't really claim to 'own' anything which pre-existed. At best, we can occupy it or interact with it.

    However, with land I have sympathy for the argument where you do own the items upon, or mixed in with, the land. Therefore, you could claim to own a house, so crops and so forth. By implication, you're then owning the use of the land, rather than the land itself.

    At first, this sounds a little slippery, but it actually makes a lot of sense, IMO. If someone damages your crops, fences, houses and so forth (your property), then they owe you damages.

    However, if someone just takes a stroll on some grassy field, doing no harm, then why should someone have the right to evict them by force? On what grounds do they base this on? They haven't damaged anything and one person circling a bit of land in a fence doesn't mean they deserve exclusive access to it.

    IMO, the state has created some rather arbitrary legislation over land 'ownership', which define some rather unnatural rights. These same rights then allow, by extension, the state to declare that it ultimately owns the land too and individuals are merely tenants upon it.

    Taking this further, through the eyes of the state, both the land and its subjects are considered assets. In any sane world, neither would be true, but it seems legislation can change down to up and left to right.

    Yes, I have a lot of time for Hayek, particularly his views on money. However, I do prefer Murray Rothbard's ideas on the bigger picture these days.

    IMO, externalities can be handled by insurance, should they be a problem. If there are potential damages which can be identified, there is a potential insurance policy which can be supplied. Insurance seems to be the key to using the 'carrot' of the free market, rather than 'stick' of legislation, in order to internalise externalities.

    I think the role of good insurance has been side lined, due to the butchering of self responsibility and the corporatism which has infested the financial sector. However, insurance itself is invaluable in encouraging non-damaging behaviour from individuals and businesses alike.

    Whether you can define the spoiling of a view* as damaging a person, is questionable. However, there are many areas where insurance could be used, such as where pollution has occurred. The insurance company can then request damages on behalf of the victim, from the offender.

    EDIT: * I suppose you could call that view pollution, but it would be a tough decision for a judge to make. It would essentially be criminalising the building of anywhere. IIRC, the Victorians used a system where if the building cast a shadow over another, it was impacting upon it and damages could potentially be due (i.e. it could harm crops growing there and so forth) which is somewhere in the middle.

    In Sweden, there is a rule called 'allemansraat' (All men's right). You can walk and indeed camp anywhere as long as you do not (i) damage crops or (ii) come within a certain distance of a dwelling.

    Surely you have to compel people to use insurance, so there is some government regulation and compulsion? Otherwise why would you take it if you can socialise your costs?

    Here's a question for the libertarians: should people be allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road, as long as they have insurance for any damage they cause?

  10. Of course they should pay for those services too. However, they already have to pay for connecting phone, electricity, water (although wells + septic tanks circumvent this) and so forth though.

    Many of those externalities are caused by trying to socialise services ineffectively. Essentially, the state has created the free rider problem here. Why shouldn't health insurance, security services, road usage/ownership, schooling etc reflect the location of people too?

    TBH though, I don't think these are the primary issues. I think it is more about NIMBYs and occasional tourists not wanting the land usage to be changed. They also don't want to pay to preserve said land usage, but just want the government to threaten people on their behalf instead ('cos much cheaper for them).

    Rights of way shouldn't have ever been prevented in the first place. Taking away a complete rights and then giving a few crumbs back in the shape of footpaths is insulting. Unless damage is being done to others peoples' property, people should be free to roam, trade and build as they see fit.

    As for the desire of millions, they should put their money where their loud mouths are then. If they want the National Trust and their ilk to own and preserve the land so that they can visit now and again, they should put their hands in their pockets. In short, if people want to commonly own and preserve land, they should make sacrifices themselves too.

    The state only owns the right to dictate how land is used, because through conflict, theft and consolidation, the land was stolen from the people in the first place.

    Why should the state have a special right to dictate how land is used? How do they know what is most efficient economically, practically or aesthetically?

    The main thing the state seems interested in, is keeping people working flat out, to compete for artificially scare shelter. Tax cattle are most productive when they work all hours of the day.

    I see we probably agree with quite a few things.

    I however have a real problem with how people can 'own' land in any case - they haven't created it or made it. It was there in any case - title only exists because someone came along and decided it was theirs, or, more commonly in Britain, because it was enclosed or emparked and awarded to some chosen general on the basis of success in some military campaign. Why should someone, by owning land, restrict the freedoms of other people to walk across it or use it?

    Incidentally, I see you are a fan of Hayek. Have you come across this quote, from "Individualism and Economic Order":

    "We need only turn to the problems which arise in connection with land, particularly with regard to urban land in modern large towns, in order to realize that a conception of property which is based on the assumption that the use of a particular item of property affects only the interests of its owner breaks down. There can be no doubt that a good many, at least, of the problems with which the modern town planner is concerned are genuine problems with which governments or local authorities are bound to concern themselves. " My understanding is that he thought some form of land use planning was necessary because the externalities were so intense and all-pervading.

  11. It's pretty subjective, TBH. You could just as well argue that 'city unsightliness' is as bad as 'bungalow blight', but we wouldn't suggest that cities aren't built.

    Even if Bath is more beautiful than Basingstoke, it doesn't mean that we should demolish the latter and/or stop any more houses being built there.

    Personally, I have no objection to houses being built in green spaces. As long as it isn't a tower block in the middle of a natural beauty spot (which would be pointless anyway and the land would likely be commonly owned/protected), then I don't see a problem with it.

    If not building on green land is about making it look pretty, we could ban farm land and let it re-forest. Natural woodland and countryside is far prettier than rows of crops after all.

    I don't mean to sound flippant, but why shouldn't people build on land freely purchased, just so that someone who hasn't spent a penny can drive past some fields occasionally?

    Cities contain hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people and are pretty central to civilisation and economic progress. Bungalows in the middle of nowhere are not. I suppose we could accept the right of property owners to build but we would have to ensure they pay the correct price for their decision. i.e. the costs tothose suffering new roads, or additional traffic. We certainly shouldn't let those paying for efficient services in cities - water, gas, electircity - subisidise having to pay for those amenities to reach those in isolated houses. We certainly should make sure they pay the additional petrol or labour costs should an ambulance driver ever have to reach them. We'd also have to make sure they pay the costs of any new schooling required. Externalites, old chap.

    I alsohappen to think that in a democracy the desire of millions for an attractive countryside or country generally outweighs those of someone who has simply bought land. In ENgland, at least, buying land is not an absolute right. That's why we have rights of way and why trespass is a civil, not a criminal, offence.

    As Churchill said in 1909: "‘The immemorial custom of every modern State, the mature conclusions of many of the greatest thinkers, have placed the tenure, transfer and obligations of land in a wholly different category from other classes of property. The mere obvious physical distinction between land, which is a vital necessity of every human being and other

    property, is in itself sufficient to justify a clear differentiation in its treatment, the view taken by the State of the conditions which govern the tenure of land from that which should regulate forms of traffic in other forms of property.’ Speech to the House of Commons on

    Land and Poverty, 4 May 1909

  12. 250px-English_regions_2009.svg.png

    Regions - Density /km²

    Greater London - 4,932/km2

    Scotland - 66

    Wales - 140

    East Midlands - 267

    East of England - 282

    North East England - 293

    North West England - 475

    South East England - 419

    South West England - 207

    West Midlands - 405

    Yorkshire and the Humber - 328

    France - 116

    Germany - 229


    The various Regions of England have actually a population density much more similar to each other than we usually think. Only Greater London has a huge density, naturally. The North West has a higher density than the SE, and the East has one of the lowest densities of all!

    Besides, as I just wrote to R&R above, the reality is that people live in cities, with dozens of thousands of people / sq mile. Whilst in the countryside between cities you have zero people / sq. mile.

    The actual question is why restrict more housing in these cities? For instance, think of Brighton, in the south coast, plenty of empty space around it, but a serious housing shortage. Why??

    I just added a few more comparators to your list - Wales and Scotland (because you were talking about Britain earlier, not England) and for comparison France and Germany.

    Of course the North West has a higher density that the South East - it includes Liverpool, Manchester and all their suburbs and associated towns - urban areas of 5m people - while the urban area which the South East is dependent on has been deliberately excluded! I'm not sure why London (population 8m) is a different case to the whole Liverpool-Manchester conurbation (5m to 6m, depending on where you stop counting).

    If you take Merseyside and Greater Manchester out of the North West the population density is 211 per sq km, half that of the South East. Same goes for the West Midlands - take the conurbation out adn it drops to 217, roughly the same as the South West.

    The East is relativley empty, yes, but not the bits near London - its Norfolk (in particular) as well as Suffolk which produce that. The population density of Hertfordshire is 684 per sq km, and Essex 464, higher than the South East region.

    Re: Brighton. While I agree on outward expansion for many towns - Reading, Cambridge etc - Brighton is a bit of a special case because of the South Downs, pretty much the only areaa of empty walking land in the South East - it really is quite unique in the south. It is that rare bit of protected countryside that you can genuinely say is special. Unfortunately it does prevent Brighton extending to the north - although it comes pretty close if you've driven out through Patcham - while on the other sides it's sea, Hove and Rottingdean.

    The other issue is that Brighton is now effectively a commuter town for London. IThe train line connecting the two is the busiest, and apparently most overcrowded, in the country. It seriously needs an upgrade if Brighton were to expand.

    Incidentally it was inappropriate development on the Downs which triggered the whole plannign system ./ grene belt etc - Woodingdean, Peacehaven etc -

  13. As someone who lives in Northern Ireland and frequents the Republic of Ireland, I don't see much evidence of a 'completely ruined' countryside. I see plenty of green with some tasteful houses dotted about, mostly. Do you make this assertion from personal experience or from anecdotal evidence? Please provide any links, if possible.

    Incidentally, you could argue that the countryside was 'completely ruined' when many of the forests were felled to make way for farmland centuries ago. What is or isn't appealing on the eye is very subjective.

    EDIT: FWIW, I see plenty of ugly multi-story slave boxes, clustered around towns/villages which look far worse, IMO.

    I know the West of Ireland quite well, and a lot of inappropriate bungalows have cropped up alll over the place in the last ten years. "Bungalow blight" is a well-documented phenomenon. Even the Policy Exchange's trio of booklets having a pop at the English planning system slated the Irish model as produced poor outcomes, and mentioned bungalow blight.

    Your argument suggests you can never make value judgements about the countryside, because it is not in its original state. Yet people do recognise that Bath is more beautiful than Basingstoke - even the people who live in Basingstoke.

  14. Firstly, welcome to the forum.

    I think you are right. But in Brighton is also a perfect example of what I keep saying under my avatar: "Too much credit + planning blockage = house price bubble". I really don't understand why Brighton Council doesn't allow more developments around Brighton. There is massive space. A few months ago I was flying back to Britain, to Gatwick, and the plane circled a few times over the South before landing (Gatwick congested or something, as usual...), anyway, it is amazing how tiny Brighton is actually in relation to the huge empty spaces around it.

    This national obsession with a rigid and too tight "green belt" (greatly peddled by the BBC et all) is a major reason this bubble doesn't deflate, as it happened in countries that have allowed more housing, like the USA, Ireland, Spain, etc.

    You think we should allow housing development on the South Downs? perhaps a new estate at Devil's Dyke?

    What Sussex needs is a fast east-west connection so it would be easier to get from Littlehampton and Hastings (cheaper housing) To Brighton.

  15. Do I have to spell it out again?

    I don't agree with your view regarding squeezing more people onto a patch of land.

    You can have very nice, dense areas but over a certain size of piecemeal urban sprawl, they turn into unattractive places to look at or live in. You are looking at your own narrow situation - you look at an attractive green field and think, "why can't I build a cheap house to live there. Life's not fair!"

    Unfortunately, you'll find that with greater density comes more restrictions. There has to be. Spread out more across the country and maybe more freedom could be had. Or maybe go to somewhere with more space like the USA. But don't expect people to want to give up something they value freely.

    EDIT: Good point River Man re the Abercrombie plan and the creation of the various garden suburbs around London. Of course, a lot of Croydon has now turned into a Paris bainlieue. And the well planned suburbs built close to stations of the South East rail network has spread so far that the car is the only alternative for most.

    Tired also compared Britain to Germany but fails to recognise that Germany's population is much more equally distributed, partly because it is quite a young country and is still really composed of lots of little city-states - Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Dresden etc. In contrast almost all our population is concentrated south of Leeds and east of Bristol, and whole swathes of Scotland, Wales and the far NOrth and far West of England are empty by European standards. For example, Scotland, which comprises about a third of the land area of Britain, is less densely populated than France and the HIghlands (more than half of Scotland) are at Swedish population densities!

  16. A few points.

    Firstly, I know quite a few town planners and they are mostly pro-growth and pro-more housing. The problem they have is the total opposition of councillors, thinking of their votes.

    Secondly, I am in favour of both housing in the South, but it has to be done carefully. Compare Germany, Holland, Denmark, etc where they have built new housing sensibly with lots of transport links and in well planned communities, with Ireland where they have completely ruined much of their most beautiful countryside by sticking ugly isloted houses all over the place. (Apparently there is a similar contrast between Belgium, where planning is laissez faire and there is a lot of ugly inappropriate housing, and more planned Holland). We need massive investment in infrastructure - and I Mean trams, trains etc not necessarily huge motorways - to go with housing growth/

    Thirdly, London was deliberately de-densified. Government was terrifed of what they called 'megalopolis' - they actively moved people out of the centre and into Watford, Croydon etc and further afield to Stevenage or Basingstoke. London was losing population after the war and this decline happened right up until the late 70s - the belief was that London would continue to fade and that its decline had to be managed. So there are other reasons why Central London is so much less dense than Paris or New York. Google 'abercrombie plan' for more info.

  17. From the "Town and Country Planning Association" ?! Geez River Man these people are the craziest, most [email protected] people on earth! The whole planning system in Britain is completely ... fecking inhumane! Immoral! Sorry but i... i really can't put in polite words how i feel about the English "planners".

    I don't understand them at all. Either they all have houses already, or it's their public sector bias (Local Authorities payroll competes with infrastructure investment...), I don't know, but somehow the bastards put human habitation way down in their priorities list! Can someone be more destructive than that?! To people's quality of fecking life?!


    I think you're ranting about the wrong people. The Town and Country Planning Association is the descendent of the Garden Cities Association. They have consistently argued for massive housing growth, new towns, a review of the boundary between town and country, etc. etc. They're on your side, old chap.

  18. I'm not sure what you mean.

    Let's see if this helps. I've just checked the pop density per region of Britain, and they are all surprisingly similar. Take a look:

    Regions - Density /km²

    East Midlands - 267

    East of England - 282

    North East England - 293

    North West England - 475

    South East England - 419

    South West England - 207

    West Midlands - 405

    Yorkshire and the Humber - 328

    The only region that has a high density is Greater London, of course, as it has a very populous city in the middle of it. Density: 4,932/km2.

    ( Source: I had to go from this page, clicking each region: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_England )

    But why block new houses elsewhere, say in Brighton for instance, because of the existence of London?

    I really don't understand your point.

    The report argues that South East England is not particularly densely populated, with many European regions having higher population densities.

    My point is that (i) the ones he is comparing against are much smaller and (ii) many include large urban areas which are not included in the South East. England is the most densely populated large country in Europe - where else do 55m odd people live in such a small space? And South East England and London the most populous part of it - where else do 15m people live in such a small space?

    People feel that England is quite crowded. This is not an illusion - it is quite crowded. I am in favour of more house building, but we have to do it carefully and sensibly, given the limits to, for example, water supply and the stress on transport infrastructure and noise pollution, for example. We need a national spatial plan, as they have in other densely populated adn economically successful parts of Northern Europe.

    I also note in the report that he only focusses on english-speaking countries when he compares affordability and housing delivery. 'Restrictive' planning systems are not incompatible with providing more housing. The Netherlands has a very complex and developed planning system - for example all development in the 'green heart' of the country is forbidden - yet it has managed to build vast numbers of houses over the past five to ten years.

  19. This is from a TCPA report from a while ago, on England, which I think sums it up:

    "No other European country has the same concentration of development. The Netherlands and the Rhine-Ruhr corridor are similar in density but their scales are more related to the three south-eastern regions of England [The South East, London and the East of England].

    Countries such as Germany, France and Italy, which have similar populations, do not have the same pattern of continuous overlapping metropolitan areas and emergent super-cities. They have more discrete, geographically separated city-regions."

  20. 16m includes Greater London.

    Greater London has a population of almost 8m, and the rest of the South East just over 8m - and that includes an area that goes as far as Portsmouth and Southampton.

    Check this table on Wikepedia (they've have used gov. stats, a link to the source is included there.)

    LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_counties_by_population

    ( You can organise the table by region, to facilitate adding up the Southeast. )

    The Netherlads has a similar population, 16m, but in a smaller area IIRC (I'm running out of free time here to check that, sorry.)

    Regarding the role of finance, I've written about it in 2 previous posts. Links below:



    This is his list:

    (with density in persons per km2)

    South Holland (NL) 1,254

    North Holland (NL) 1,008

    Utrecht (NL) 887

    Zug (CH) 535

    Basel-Landschaft (CH) 527

    North Rhine-Westphalia (DE) 524

    Limburg (NL) 522

    Noord-Brabant (NL) 499

    Flanders (BE) 462

    Aargau (CH) 430

    South East (UK) 425

    We can discount Zug (population 113,000) and Basel-Landschaft (275,000) - tiny and not reall relevant.

    The South East figure refers just to the South East region, not London. This means it is not comparing like with like - as I said South Holland includes Rotterdam and North Holland Amsterdam (As well as the other randstad cities) and North Rhine-Westphalia includes Dortmund, Dusseldorf etc. and the other Ruhr cities.

    If we add London to the South East we get a population density of 765, higher than everywhere except Utrecht and the two Hollands. Except the population of those three together is just 7.3m (South Holland 3.5m, North Holland 2.6m, Utretcht .12m) - half the size of the 15.8m population of London & the South East!! The only comparable area in that list is North Rhine-Westphalia which is still only two thirds as densely populated as London & the South East.

    Most of the other areas are small - Limburg (1.1m), Noord-Brabant (2.4m), Aargau (1.4m). It's simply not comparing like with like.

  21. I'm with you on this.

    Planning law is a problem but it simply isn't the major driver here. If we say it is then we ignore all the financial shenanigans (THE REAL DRIVER without any doubt) and simply give the banks another go at throwing money at the construction conglomerates.

    I completely agree. We've just had the biggest credit bubble in history, much of which was aimed at property, and driven by ultra-low real interest rates. That is the real reason for such high prices. Yes, planning is a factor - but all we can say is that it makes prices higher than they would be otherwise. We can't say that it is the sole reason for prices being as high as they are.

  22. Thank you.

    The full report (at the IEA) is brilliant too.

    There are some tables there that I wish I could copy paste here, but the format gets lost. For instance, there is one comparing population densities (on page 6), that lists many continental regions with higher densities, and yet as we know, having lower housing prices. Germany is the best model to follow.

    This list is a bit disingenous. THe population of the South East is around 15m, the population of the Dutch regions he mentions is more like 3m. Hardly comparable. Also, the South East excludes London, whereas NOrth Holland and South Holland includes Amsterdam and Rotterdam respectively. If you add London to the South East it rockets up the table. I would insist that there is nowhere else in Europe where 20m people live at such high densities than in South-Eastern England. Yes parts of Germany and Holland are equally or slightly more densely populated but hte overall scale (i.e. the number of people) is smaller.

    Also, I found the report very simplistic, as might be expected from a think tank that thinks that free markets are the solution to everything. House prices have gone up so much for two reasons. (i) yes, we don't have enough but also (ii) we had an ultra-competitive mortgage market which often offered products at negative real interest rates.

    What I'd really like to ask Mr Niemitz is - if interest rates had stayed at 8,9,10% plus - would prices have risen as much - even if planning rules had been even more restrictive?

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