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Planning Policy For London: People Vs Horses

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http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2013/08/planning-policy

Blighty

Britain

Planning policy

Getting horse

Aug 29th 2013, 14:47 by D.K

HORSES are, I am reliably told, wonderful creatures. Intelligent, beautiful animals and the rest of it. I offer that as a proviso merely because of what is about to follow. This week, we have published a story on Britain’s housing market and its problems. The short answer, inevitably, is the shortage of good land on which to build, thanks to Britain’s tight planning law.

Most of the demand for housing is in places such as north and west London, Oxford and Cambridge, where prices are extremely high. Sadly, most of what’s available to builders is grotty ex-industrial land on floodplains in places like the Thames estuary. Since convincing people to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to live in such areas is not particularly easy—especially when they have no money—that means that Britain doesn’t build very much.

Some people think that this is a good thing—we ought to be protecting the beautiful British countryside from the bulldozers. Newspaper articles about building on green fields tend to be illustrated with pictures of gorgeous rolling hills in somewhere like Devon. The CPRE, a pressure group which in effect wants to force poor people to pay vast amounts of money to live on grim ex-industrial land, argues that we need all of our green fields for farming.

Yet what actually is the land that we are so desperate to protect really being used for? Well, this piece in Inside Housing by Colin Wiles makes an interesting point. One of the biggest uses of the green belt, around London at least, is grazing horses. He estimates that around 600,000 hectares of land in Britain is occupied by the country’s 1m or so horses. To put that in perspective, the amount of land that is built on is roughly double that. So horses probably use up almost as much space as we do.

The reality of the green belt is that it is an enormous subsidy for any activity which doesn’t involve changing the land use from green fields. People who want big pony paddocks within a short drive (or ride?) of their suburban houses in north London can easily get them. People who would rather like suburban houses within a short train journey of their job in central London are instead forced to go and live in places like the Thames estuary.

And for all that I like horses—magical beasts, I’m absolutely sure, and definitely not pointless grass-munching anachronisms—I have to wonder, is this really a useful way of using scarce resources?

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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He estimates that around 600,000 hectares of land in Britain is occupied by the country’s 1m or so horses. To put that in perspective, the amount of land that is built on is roughly double that. So horses probably use up almost as much space as we do.

I'm not easily shocked.

But that statistic has done it.

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And the author forgot about the cows, I've seen many grazing near London - inside the M25.

Well cows are needed (for milk and meat) and they take a lot of space. Whether that needs to be within the M25 is antother question.

But horses are basically a leisure persuit for the wealthy.

We allocate as much land for this as housing pretty much every person in the country.

IE the poor live in sheds so the rich can ride horse

Insane.

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Another couple examples:

1970's/1980's development for the generation that are 'worth it'

3345e02.png

A modern development that was allowed by the generation that are 'worth it', you are talking 200k+ for one of those slave boxes with no garden. Plenty of land around that site to have made a nice development of better quality than the 70's/80's development.

z7eh3.png

I can see why people object to developments like the latter because they are an eye sore. Government 'policy' won't allow development like the first because they are not dense enough, but density to one side you can see plenty more greenery in the 70's development where the gardens are as you find that the absolute footprint of the houses takes no more space. It's lack of land around the development which find te major issue.

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It amazes me how many girls/women around here in the 15-35 age group have horses. Not rich girls either, just ones in near min wage jobs. Whats wrong with a bloody gerbil?

1,000lb vibrator.

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Well cows are needed (for milk and meat) and they take a lot of space. Whether that needs to be within the M25 is antother question.

But horses are basically a leisure persuit for the wealthy.

We allocate as much land for this as housing pretty much every person in the country.

IE the poor live in sheds so the rich can ride horse

Insane.

+ 1

(Yes, of course I was talking about having cows grazing within the M25.)

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It amazes me how many girls/women around here in the 15-35 age group have horses. Not rich girls either, just ones in near min wage jobs. Whats wrong with a bloody gerbil?

Grazing land is dirty cheap, some £10k to £15k/acre, and from that very cheap base the whole business becomes very cost effective.

That is the exact opposite to what happens to humans, and from our very expensive base... well, see my sig. and all that...

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I don't buy the shortage.

The last two villages we've lived in were 30% and 50% occupied. Many of those second homes were only used for a couple of weekends in the year.

Around the villages are reasonable family homes with 0.25 - 1 acre. Almost all of these, that are occupied fulltime, are occupied by boomers - using only one of the 4 or 5 bedrooms.

Any tiny boxes (which usually come in rows) are fully occupied with families - often with extended family living in them too.

So I'd say - only about 15% of bedrooms have anyone sleeping in them regularly.

You don't need to build on greenbelt, you just need to tax assets like income is taxed.

Then the bedblockers would downsize quicker and the earners who's taxes are paying for the current circus would be able to get a property with a garden the kids can play in.

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I don't buy the shortage.

The last two villages we've lived in were 30% and 50% occupied. Many of those second homes were only used for a couple of weekends in the year.

Around the villages are reasonable family homes with 0.25 - 1 acre. Almost all of these, that are occupied fulltime, are occupied by boomers - using only one of the 4 or 5 bedrooms.

Any tiny boxes (which usually come in rows) are fully occupied with families - often with extended family living in them too.

So I'd say - only about 15% of bedrooms have anyone sleeping in them regularly.

You don't need to build on greenbelt, you just need to tax assets like income is taxed.

Then the bedblockers would downsize quicker and the earners who's taxes are paying for the current circus would be able to get a property with a garden the kids can play in.

Tricky to make most efficient use of assets without forcing people to do things. I'm of the view that if granny wants to piss her money away heating a 4 bed house while it crumbles around her ears but allows her to stay in touch with friends and relatives nearby, she's more than welcome to do so.

But, that means building more. There are 27 million houses in the UK, we need another million or so. Will a 4% increase in houses cause the UK to resemble a carpark, if it were all put in greenbelt? Sounds like BS to me. Brownfield should be used where apropriate (ie near jobs) but the greenbelt option has to exist, in my view.

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I don't buy the shortage.

The last two villages we've lived in were 30% and 50% occupied. Many of those second homes were only used for a couple of weekends in the year.

Around the villages are reasonable family homes with 0.25 - 1 acre. Almost all of these, that are occupied fulltime, are occupied by boomers - using only one of the 4 or 5 bedrooms.

Any tiny boxes (which usually come in rows) are fully occupied with families - often with extended family living in them too.

So I'd say - only about 15% of bedrooms have anyone sleeping in them regularly.

You don't need to build on greenbelt, you just need to tax assets like income is taxed.

Then the bedblockers would downsize quicker and the earners who's taxes are paying for the current circus would be able to get a property with a garden the kids can play in.

and one would also assume that left wingers like BBC or Guardian would run this story on the daily base - as the major social injustice and human rights issue ...

but they dont ... :(

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and one would also assume that left wingers like BBC or Guardian would run this story on the daily base

Ironically, that village with 50%+ second home owners included many BBC employees.

Cheese: I'm not against building on greenbelt - but would just like to see the property that exists today get used more efficiently. Many of the most recently built properties round here (barn conversions) only got planning to be used as second homes.

The impact is that the food chain gets broken. The schools are not needed if it's all boomers, the public transport isn't needed as much if nobody commutes anywhere etc.

There are only 4 families with kids in this village of 30+ houses - and they all rent.

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I don't buy the shortage.

The last two villages we've lived in were 30% and 50% occupied. Many of those second homes were only used for a couple of weekends in the year.

Around the villages are reasonable family homes with 0.25 - 1 acre. Almost all of these, that are occupied fulltime, are occupied by boomers - using only one of the 4 or 5 bedrooms.

Any tiny boxes (which usually come in rows) are fully occupied with families - often with extended family living in them too.

So I'd say - only about 15% of bedrooms have anyone sleeping in them regularly.

You don't need to build on greenbelt, you just need to tax assets like income is taxed.

Then the bedblockers would downsize quicker and the earners who's taxes are paying for the current circus would be able to get a property with a garden the kids can play in.

and one would also assume that left wingers like BBC or Guardian would run this story on the daily base - as the major social injustice and human rights issue ...

but they dont ... :(

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I don't buy the shortage.

The last two villages we've lived in were 30% and 50% occupied. Many of those second homes were only used for a couple of weekends in the year.

Around the villages are reasonable family homes with 0.25 - 1 acre. Almost all of these, that are occupied fulltime, are occupied by boomers - using only one of the 4 or 5 bedrooms.

Any tiny boxes (which usually come in rows) are fully occupied with families - often with extended family living in them too.

So I'd say - only about 15% of bedrooms have anyone sleeping in them regularly.

You don't need to build on greenbelt, you just need to tax assets like income is taxed.

Then the bedblockers would downsize quicker and the earners who's taxes are paying for the current circus would be able to get a property with a garden the kids can play in.

I agree 100% that we have a very serious distributional problem, both generational and geographical, with young southerners suffering the most.

And I also agree that if we taxed properties properly, say 1%/year, with no ceiling (unlike our regressive and caped Council Tax), or, even better a LVT, we would solve most of this distributional problem. But I think the political barriers against this are even stronger than against planning liberalisation.

But we also have a shortage. See below. We should copy Germany.

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Ironically, that village with 50%+ second home owners included many BBC employees.

Cheese: I'm not against building on greenbelt - but would just like to see the property that exists today get used more efficiently. Many of the most recently built properties round here (barn conversions) only got planning to be used as second homes.

The impact is that the food chain gets broken. The schools are not needed if it's all boomers, the public transport isn't needed as much if nobody commutes anywhere etc.

There are only 4 families with kids in this village of 30+ houses - and they all rent.

I misinterpreted your post, apologies. I just wonder how easily any proposed tax changes could be implemented.

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and one would also assume that left wingers like BBC or Guardian would run this story on the daily base - as the major social injustice and human rights issue ...

but they dont ... :(

+ 1

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New builds of the future ....

trojan-horse.jpg

They could put houses above horses - well stables. They already put houses above garages...

I present the Barratt 'hero' -at least thats what it says in the URL :blink:

27551.jpg

It could be a bit like those US golfing communities, where your back garden is also a fairway.

large-golf.jpg

We could call them horsing communities.

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Interesting that The Economist thinks UK house prices are only 14% - 20% overvalued. Not really consistent with the reams of vitriol and hyperbole that appear on this site every day.

Difficult to comment without seeing how the income data is sourced. My home was offered for sale at over 8x national average income or rent at 35% of average income per annum. ie over 20 years rent to pay asking price.

Edit wrong way around. Cost vs rent much higher, hence me renting it!

Edited by cheeznbreed

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