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Junk The Green Belt ... And Council Planners!

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Great article in the Sunday Times Homes section yesterday by Kevin McCloud who did "Grand Designs" on TV.

Where would you like to live? If you’ve just left home having grown up in the sticks, chances are you’ll opt for the alcohol-centric nightlife of Birmingham or Manchester. So that’ll be a high-rise urban shag-pad, please. If you’ve got a family and are now through the alcohol/shagging phase, you’ll go for somewhere further out with a garden. If you’re brave, you might even forsake the city altogether for a knock-through live/work cottage in the village of Broadband-on-Demand, where you can grow your own soft fruit and check your Blackberry.
And while we’re scrapping the planning system, we might as well junk the green belt. Why? Because it’s another outdated concept designed to trammel development and to preserve the distinction between “town” and “country” as enshrined in the 1949 Town and Country Planning Act, which still forms the basis of planning policy. The concept of the green belt as a green lung or an accessible amenity for a city is patronising given that so much green belt land is inaccessible, and that what many people want is a house with a bit of land, some chickens and local facilities.

He also invites debate via his email address in the article. Seems like a good guy to have on the bears side.

Why we should junk the green belt.

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Although we obviously can't let everybody build what they want where they want.. it is planning regs that prevent the housing market functioning like other markets....

As one poster succinctly put it a couple of days ago,,,,,,if the CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) are so in favour of green fields why don't they bulldoze their rural houses and grow crops on the sites........?

In my area planning regs are very tight....if i own a field they won't give me planning permission to build as everyone with a field would want to develop it so it's easier for the local authority to impose a de facto blanket ban on building....so nothing ever gets built except for the odd infill site in the town itself........

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i have always been a keen advocate of taking back our greenbelt. after all. if you walk on it you will mostly be arrested. i think we should share it more.

so far all it houses are 1 sheep per 5sq km. a great, greedy waste by the original nimbys.

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Great article in the Sunday Times Homes section yesterday by Kevin McCloud who did "Grand Designs" on TV.

He also invites debate via his email address in the article.  Seems like a good guy to have on the bears side.

Why we should junk the green belt.

Well before we junk the green belt, every perveyor of the concept should be forced to live for 6 months in the western suburbs of sydney. 1/2 mile walk to bus stop, bus runs every 3/4 of an hour. Every 20 mins during peak hour. Nightclubs are all called 'twilight' or 'stags' and are a 25 minute drive away... driving drunk is considered de rigueur and in fact 1/4 of the male population consider themselves better drivers when they are drunk (the kiddies should be in bed so you can only wrap yourself around a lamp post) - and thats just the central western suburbs. Wait till you hit the fringe. A lifestyle truly to be recommended.

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1/2 mile walk to bus stop, bus runs every 3/4 of an hour. Every 20 mins during peak hour.

The same can be said for most rural areas in the UK. In fact 5 or 10 miles outside most big cities the public transport is virtually non-existent.

Nightclubs are all called 'twilight' or 'stags'

What exactly does this have to do with planning policy?

driving drunk is considered de rigueur

As it used to be in the UK before hard-hitting government ad campaigns and educational efforts by the police changed the culture to make drink-driving socially unacceptable.

A lifestyle truly to be recommended.

You may find it odious, but what does any of this have to do with housing?

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Junk the Green Belt ?

Thought Prescott had pretty much already planned to do this and build thousands of rabbit hutches all over the south east.

Is there a shortage of housing or not ?

Many on this site claim there is not, Prescott obviously thinks otherwise.

Cos if not, I would prefer to have the green spaces thanks.

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You may find it odious, but what does any of this have to do with housing?

Everything. Housing is not just about bricks and mortar. Its about the ability to live in a way that is good for the human being.

As it used to be in the UK before hard-hitting government ad campaigns and educational efforts by the police changed the culture to make drink-driving socially unacceptable.

Hard-hitting government ad campaigns work for the socially connected but tend not the reach the fringes. Note that crime tends to operate in the UK in disadvantaged areas to a far greater level than it does in those areas that have a high level of cultural capital and disposable income. I admire your faith in government spin.

What exactly does this have to do with planning policy?

Its the sort of social activity that goes on when people have nothing but their sex drive to keep their minds occupied

The same can be said for most rural areas in the UK. In fact 5 or 10 miles outside most big cities the public transport is virtually non-existent.

Yeah, but thats rural. You get trees and animals and stuff in rural. Kids learn that milk comes out of cows tits, not bottles. It offers its own educational and cultural assets to make up for the lack of public transport etc. Suburban wastelands are an entirely different kettle of fish.

Have you lived in one? If not, you should try it some time.

Edited by Elizabeth

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Download Google Earth and check out the suburbs around (e.g.) New York if you want to see the monster that unrestricted planning would unleash. Thanks but no thanks, the green belt was one of the few decent 20th century planning ideas and we shouldn't abolish it, not in our densely populated country.

Supply and demand plays a small part in the current housing bubble (why are America/Australia/New Zealand experiencing their own bubbles otherwise?) and then we have the spectre of Peak Oil to contend with..if thats even half as bad as some claim, we're going to need that land and perhaps learn to treasure the countryside instead of mocking those who wish to protect it.

Doesn't Mcloud realise we need agricultural land to, like, grow food and stuff, and giving farmers a one off cash bonanza of £30k an acre is going to solve the farming crisis in the same sort of way that giving unemployed people a porshe 911 is going to solve poverty...

Edited by trouserjazz

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Doesn't Mcloud realise we need agricultural land to, like, grow food and stuff, and giving farmers a one off cash bonanza of £30k an acre is going to solve the farming crisis in the same sort of way that giving unemployed people a porshe 911 is going to solve poverty...

Someone posted a string about living in a car at one stage. Living in a Porche 911... would that be like moving up the car ladder?

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Thanks but no thanks, the green belt was one of the few decent 20th century planning ideas and we shouldn't abolish it, not in our densely populated country.

The country is only 'densely populated' because the population are forced into about 7% of the land area.

Supply and demand plays a small part in the current housing bubble (why are America/Australia/New Zealand experiencing their own bubbles otherwise?)

Most towns and cities in Australia are close to the coast because the rest of the country is so inhospitable, the US boom is mostly in the parts of the country where there isn't a surplus of land and prices haven't risen much in the areas where there's plenty. I'm not sure about New Zealand.

Either way, if another 93% of the land in the country was suddenly available for building, house prices would have to drop dramatically as it would be cheaper to build a new detached house than buy a two-bed terrace.

Doesn't Mcloud realise we need agricultural land to, like, grow food and stuff

In that case the land will be worth more as farmland than as housing, and farmers won't sell.

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Thought Prescott had pretty much already planned to do this and build thousands of rabbit hutches all over the south east

There is a shortage of housing; housing that people want to live in. There is a glut of small 1 and 2 bed flats and terrace houses with unusable layouts, damp and high maintenance fees.

What prescott needs to do is build lots of nice houses, on greenbelt, with efficient fast pubilc transport (i.e. a new train line here and there). Flooding the top end of the property ladder will make it more affordable all the way down. Rip-off the people who can aford it the most, the rich.

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Either way, if another 93% of the land in the country was suddenly available for building, house prices would have to drop dramatically as it would be cheaper to build a new detached house than buy a two-bed terrace.

House prices aren't the only thing in the world, for heaven's sake. You need to get out more. Sure, if the UK was covered in the kind of urban sprawl Elizabeth's talking about houses would be cheaper - so what?!

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of course you can't concrete over the uk....but only 10% is built on now and 90% green so even here in one of the world's most densely populated countries there's bags of room.......If we doubled the number of houses 80% of the uk would still be green!

You have to have green spaces but it's really annoying to drive past mile upon mile of empty fields that even with agricultural subsidies aren't viable as farmland yet are jealous protected by the Daily Telegraph-reading nimby's of the CPRE.

.

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I think what Elizabeth is trying to say is that if you build on greenbelt and urban people buy there, the total lack of convenience living may not be to their liking.

Over 40% of urbanites who move to the country move back to the towns. You cannot pop down the road for a take-a-away whenever you feel like it. You cannot order a taxi to run you back from the pub. In many places you cannot get a restaurant/pub meal.

Buses are few and far between, as are garages. It may be many miles to the nearest train station for you to commute to work (because there isn't much work in the countryside). You may have to actually drive a few miles to get a newspaper on a Sunday morning.

These estates that Mr Prescott is going to have springing up on green belt may seem large but they certainly aren't going to have enough of a population to support business or industry or putting in new train lines. You may get the odd new bus service but my guess is people don't want to use buses. I think a lot of these estates will end up full of isolated, insular people desperate for a trip to the pictures or bowling alley.

Also with regard to the unused green belt land in the UK. We are talking Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland here. It may be unused but do you want to live up a snowy mountain? Could you find work in the area where they build? Could you afford it? Most FTB's don't move straight into a detached property no matter how low prices have fallen.

The real problem is, as it has always been, the spin relating to supply and demand. Yes we do have enough houses, no they are not affordable. If we have enough houses now that we cannot afford how would building even more on greenbelt help?

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Someone posted a string about living in a car at one stage.  Living in a Porche 911... would that be like moving up the car ladder?

Thats not a bad idea actually...we could all park up on the M25 at night, then we wouldn't have to build on the greenbelt :D

The country is only 'densely populated' because the population are forced into about 7% of the land area.

The country is 'densely populated' because if you divide all the people by the landmass of the country, we're one of the most heavily populated countries in the world, if you do it just for England (6 times more densely populated than Scotland) its denser still, and if you do it just for the South East of England (where most of the houses are going to be built) we're twice as densely populated as the Netherlands.

Either way, if another 93% of the land in the country was suddenly available for building, house prices would have to drop dramatically as it would be cheaper to build a new detached house than buy a two-bed terrace.

North London Rent Girl said it best I think!

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i have always been a keen advocate of taking back our greenbelt. after all. if you walk on it you will mostly be arrested. i think we should share it more.

so far all it houses are 1 sheep per 5sq km. a great, greedy waste by the original nimbys.

"you will mostly be arrested" - really? I've never actually heard of that happening. Does anybody know if there is actually a criminal law about trespass? Is it actually rather a civil offence? Could the police actually be called over such a thing? I know there is a lot of assumed knowledge about it, but I've never actually established the facts for myself. Anybody know? Just curious.

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Just one question about this "green belt" thingy...

What, exactly, is the land being used for now? If not agriculture then I assume public land that anyone can walk on?

Some of the comments here are giving me images of unused land just fenced off which sounds a bit unbelievable in a "free" country. :huh::huh::huh::huh:

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  • 342 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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