New towns and old cities: Thames Reach

 

            During the Labour years I responded to their Barker Review into housing supply. That government identified four major areas for housing growth – Ashford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and the East Thames corridor.

            I agreed with them about the fourth on their list. Fresh from the success at encouraging major development in London Docklands, extending the renewal eastwards seemed a natural idea.  I proposed a new city called Thames Reach to rise between the M25 and the Crossways Park in the west, and Gravesend in the east.

            Piecemeal developments have proceeded in this area, reclaiming land and  filling in old quarries. Now we learn that the Coalition government wishes to turn the Ebbsfleet area into a garden city. That implies lower density developments with good public spaces and a mixture of sizes and prices of homes.

            There is a substantial shift going on in our country from north to south. In parts of the north we have a surplus of accommodation and weak house prices. In   most of the south we have a scarcity of housing and  high and rising prices.  All parties would like to find ways of stimulating more development in the north, and relieving some of the pressure on the south. The problem is the economy of a Cambridge or a Milton Keynes is taking off, creating many more jobs and offering a good market for anyone wanting to set up in business. Just as Liverpool grew and grew  a hundred years ago thanks to the dynamism of its dock based activities, so today Cambridge grows and grows owing to the success of its knowledge based activities.

      We need both to reinforce success, ensuring lack of transport, homes and other infrastructure does not stifle the fast growing parts of the country, and to find ways of harnessing that success to more parts of the country. We will need a new garden city at Ebbsfleet and more besides in the south. We also need more triggers for private sector led growth in  the big northern cities. Meanwhile Wokingham is offering builders scope to construct 12,500 extra homes just in the one relatively small district.

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47 Comments

  1. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    The people of Wokingham will not be heartened by more houses being built in this area. You would think that the weak prices of houses in the north would attract those of lower incomes , but mortgages are still very difficult to get hold of and the wage squeeze makes it even more so. Whilst employers look to give their staff as little as possible and flaunt their own prosperity there will be a difficult situation . Private employers are less likely to give highly qualified staff the wages they are due, whilst public employers at least give a wage where mortgages can be acquired.

    Many newly qualified nursing staff and doctors are forced to go into locum jobs and employment such as private nursing homes. Whilst this situation continues due to an ever increasing population there will be too many who simply cannot afford to buy.Many staff are on £7-8 k P/A and yet more and more people are coming in to take our jobs.

    • Hope
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Immigration problem not a housing one. Boles wants to build on every piece of land and the law is skewed to allow this without objection. If not houses wind farms and nonsensical HS2 railway lines. Best keep any detrimental report secret despite Cameron’ s promise to be the most open government blurb. Localism is a misnomer and an absolute nonsense. Yet councils do not have the money to pay for the infrastructure or additional public services. Therefore all our quality of lives will be reduced thanks to the EU and mass immigration. To add insult make us all pay a little more tax to help pay working tax credits and council tax support, Osborne thinks we love it! May 2015 cannot come quick enough.

      • Timaction
        Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        500,000 + a year, every year for the immigration figures. That’s what the Liblabcon parties are inflicting on us, mainly in England. Nothing is or can be done to halt this flow. We are being taxed to pay for the health, education and housing of the 27 Nations of the EU and elsewhere. We want our Country and democracy restored. There is only one choice. Barosso and Merkel have told us free movement of people is non negotiable.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        As long as private companies want cheap labour and import skilled workers from abroad rather than train people from the UK any immigration problems won’t be solved.

        Also if so many jobs weren’t concentrated in the south east and London there wouldn’t be a housing crisis in these regions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      “highly qualified staff the wages they are due” Due from whom the magic money tree?

      Workers are in a market place of supply and demand. If you are highly qualified in something, for which there is no local demand, then you may be “due” nothing at all and just have to change direction.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Well why train them in the first place?

      • Jennifer A
        Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        After Mrs Thatcher’s reforms compliant, non-unionised workers were let down and their jobs outsourced. The effects of this were mitigated with government subsidy – welfarism. Were it not for this politicians might have been forced to fight harder for their constituents’ jobs.

        Instead they were told “Let those in other countries do what they do best and we’ll do what we do best.”

        A lie.

        Customers got cheaper insurance from brokers (or did they ?) while their taxes went up to cover the welfare benefits to displaced call center workers. The remote and automated insurance claiming systems enabled such as cash-for-crash scams driving up the cost of all our cover.

        Government contracts went overseas instead of to UK manufacturers – the ill effects of this policy were enabled and mitigated by welfare too.

        The result ? A massive trade deficit and a broke country. Lost skills. A lost generation.

        The latest phenomenon. An endless influx of ‘cheap’ and unskilled labour. Again – heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and uneconomic by any measure.

        Successive UK governments have deliberately skewed the supply/demand ratios against its own people through lack of patriotism in the allocation of government contracts, through welfarism and through mass immigration.

  2. Old Albion
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    JR. I lived in Northfleet (Ebbsfleet) for 55 years, i know a bit about the place.
    If 15,000 homes are built in the surrounding area? That will equate to circa 45,000 people and 15,000 cars.
    The whole area already suffers from poor infrastructure. It is a popular destination for immigrants and has been for decades.
    More schools, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and dental clinics will be required.
    The roads are currently overloaded. In the event of an accident on the A2 the whole area is gridlocked for hours. For six weeks in the run up to Christmas, the roads approaching Bluewater come to a grinding halt.
    Osborne might be delighted to announce a new ‘garden city’ but it comes at a price. Is he willing or able to fund all the new social and transport services?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Well we need lots of Fracking and lots of the large reserves are in the Fylde in Lancashire, the North East, Kent and Lincolnshire. Then the cheap energy might keep some of the few remaining manufacturing industries in the North.

    I would tend to let builders build where people want to live and where the demand is. Also allow them to build the sort of units people want to live rather than limit it to building usually endless, non extendable, rabbit hutches in allocated remote fields.

    To get jobs up north you need some competitive advantages, we do not have many with expensive energy, over regulation of everything, daft employment laws, over taxation, poor banking etc. So often the best option up north is to get a job as on over paid government largely parasitic bureaucrat, tax collector or regulator.

    HS2 will hinder this hugely too as it is clearly worth so much less than it will cost.

  4. Mark B
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    And once you have concreted over the whole of Southern England and handed over to ‘new comers’, what then ?

    You mention the abundance of property in the North of England. Would it not be more preferable to encourage business to grow and prosper there once more ? Thereby attracting workers and spreading the wealth of the land ?

    We do not think longterm in this country. See certainly do not think of the indigenous population and its future.

    What about services that these new homes, towns and cities will need ? Water, electricity, waste disposal, transport and communications. You people are bloody mad !

    But as you sow, so shall you reap !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Governments are interested in gross GDP of the total number of worker bees that they can milk (honey extract perhaps) with taxes. Voters are interest in standard of living and GDP per cap. For the government the more worker bees the better even if they are poorer per head.

    • dave roderick
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      you mentioned water ,as this area is a high risk flood area i do not think that will be a problem

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        dave

        Do remember it has to be the right water, at the right time, as we have a shortage of reservoirs to store such a resource.

        Remember the hosepipe ban !

  5. Andyvan
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Governments have been trying to stimulate growth in the north for 40 years with a staggering lack of success at vast cost. What they have actually stimulated is a soviet style, public sector dependent, pseudo economy which is entirely unsustainable without robbing the south to pay for it.
    Just leave it to individuals and business to make sensible economic decisions based on reality rather than on some 5 year plan dreamt up by politicians and bureaucrats. If people and business want more infrastructure in any given place and it is economically viable it will happen without interference from central planners.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      The way to jobs in the north is for government to get out of the way, cheap energy & reduce taxes, planning laws and regulation hugely.

    • waramess
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on. Redistribution of income has patently failed and politicians should now leave well alone to allow differnt areas of the UK to find their own economic equalibrium.

      Houses in the South climb to frightening levels because salaries are high and, notwithstanding the fact that many cannot afford to purchase they can still afford to pay high rents which attracts the focus of Landlords who are willing investors.

      Houses in the North are still in the doldrums because the unemployed do not represent a very good source of tenant for landlords and wages and salaries are low evven for the employed.

      That 10 times the average income is now needed to buy the average house is quite a nonsense and has all the makings of an approaching property inspired collapse

    • uanime5
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Just leave it to individuals and business to make sensible economic decisions based on reality rather than on some 5 year plan dreamt up by politicians and bureaucrats.

      So your solution is to give companies even less incentive to be located in the north of England. No chance of that working.

      If people and business want more infrastructure in any given place and it is economically viable it will happen without interference from central planners.

      Care to provide some examples of companies paying to build more infrastructure, rather than demanding that the government pay for it.

  6. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Well I lived in Milton Keynes for a while. It is a hopeless place. Designed by politically correct nutters. I could do a documentary on it. Thriving criminal communities and underworld. Extensive cycle lanes aka escape routes for criminals out of sight. Over provision of disabled parking and far too little for the other residents. And so on and so on.
    The numbers of houses discussed are trivial anyways, why oh why don’t you all admit a large part of the problem is immigration? What will it take for you to see sense?
    Really George Osbournes promise to keep hyping the price of houses, with help to buy aka stealing from savers to prop up borrowers, long into the future had me in despair, how absolutely stupid can our political class get? Is somebody trying to stoke our own subprime crisis on purpose? Are the politicians going to act surprised?
    The political class are driving this country further and further into the abyss.
    Please John stop towing the party line on this stuff. Nobody out here in the real world believes the emperor has no clothes.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Well said Iain. The political class are in denial. Ponder these sobering figures. :-

      Debt at the end of 2012;

      - Households – £1,147bn
      - Non-financial corporations – £1,479bn
      - Financial corporation – £3,683bn
      - Government – £1,182bn
      - Total of above – £7,816bn

      …..which is about 500% of GDP.
      Source Dr Tim Morgan ex Tullet Prebon Research

      Basically the country is flat broke and in a very deep hole. Importing cheap labour, building houses, stoking inflation and shrinking the value of the pound is all our clueless chancellor has left to keep the ponzi scheme going.

      Another fact is that each £1 of growth over the last decade has been ‘bought’ by £9 of borrowed money. How unsustainable is that ?.

      Reply You also need to consider the much larger figures for the assets of the country, and the country’s capacity to pay the interest on the debt. We are not bust .

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Reply You also need to consider the much larger figures for the assets of the country, and the country’s capacity to pay the interest on the debt. We are not bust .
        Mr Redwood thanks for your reply. I note that you do not dispute any of my figures.
        I’m no economist, but surely if ‘growth’ is being ‘bought’ on large amounts of unaffordable borrowed money, then that is the definition of a Ponzi scheme ?. Why don’t we just build a few more garden city’s, ramp up our GDP even more and wipe out our debts completely. The level of government incompetence and economic trickery is quite staggering.
        It’s the return of spin to conjure up a version of reality that is more palatable than the truth. What is going to happen if borrowing rates on government money rise ?

        Douglas Carswell doesn’t describe George Osborne’s period in office as ‘continuity Brown’ for nothing – your own figures back up the fact that GO hasn’t cut spending at all. He has only reduced the rate of the lunatic increases we saw under labour. His was the last chance to take the action needed and he has blown it.
        If we add in unfunded pension obligations, the figure for national debt increases to around 900% OF GDP. You mention the ‘assets of the country and our ability to pay the interest on the debt’ . We have no hope of paying off the debt itself – the interest itself will become an increasingly crippling burden.
        The only way this matter will be resolved is by Default on interest payments (unlikely) , inflating away the debt. or a combination of money printing and rock bottom interest rates to weaken the pound ie government theft.

      • bigneil
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Your comment – importing cheap labour – and once here and qualified for all the benefits – does anyone think they will go anywhere else? – I don’t. Why should they? Even if they lose their jobs they are now in a country of free healthcare, housing, money and schooling for their multiple (more benefits) offspring. Entirely unsustainable. Concrete over everything. Import anyone who doesn’t speak English. Anyone who won’t learn English can argue they cannot understand all the Health and Safety rules in any employment – bingo -cannot be deported -cannot be forced to go back home -and we are then saddled with yet another freeloader to pay for in their taxpayer funded house, getting their taxpayer funded life. The country is doomed – deliberately – by the govt. Seriously Mr Redwood -I am glad most of my time on this planet has already gone -the future of a country I once loved looks very bleak indeed.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    We also need to have different rates of pay and benefits in different regions to reflect supply and demand. Just as we need to pay maths and physics teachers more than others if we want to recruit decent ones. We want the brightest to be creating new businesses not working for the state sector, taxing and inconveniencing the ones that are trying to.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      We also need to have different rates of pay and benefits in different regions to reflect supply and demand.

      So benefits would be highest in areas with few jobs to reflect that these people will spend long periods of time unemployed.

  8. Gina Dean
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Its about time the governments sights should be raised from such a tight area. There is a large part of the UK which could be developed to improve and get investment going. It seems from outside of the London bubble looking in that the focus is always in that area. Everything starts from there, no wonder unrest is stirring.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Top down command and control does not produce a successful economy. It didn’t work for Mao and it will not work for Osbourne.

  9. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    If you really wish to reduce or stabilise house prices in the South East then supply must exceed demand. Presumably this is why house prices in some areas of the North of England remain low. There are few buyers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Better to rent when on benefits I suppose.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Housing, new office, or industrial development is always fraught with argument.

    Its location, style, design, density, infrastructure links, and how it marries in with the existing order of things is the cause of much discussion.

    London Docklands would seem to have been a huge success, as have a number of garden City’s, now that they have matured with age.

    What seems to have been a failure is the squeezing in of some infill developments where density is high, room sizes are small, roads are narrow, parking is limited, and design questionable.
    In addition the swamping of established Towns, where new development has simply completely altered the character of the original without new infrastructure links being built to cope.

    Wokingham underwent very major expansion some 30 -40 years ago, with developments to the North and South of the Town, whilst at the same time to the West, Winnersh and Woosehill expanded, with Winnersh joining up with the then largest Private housing development in Europe (at the time) Lower Earley.

    The whole character of the Towns surroundings were thus changed during this period, although some open space remained around it to the East.

    As you say John, we now have another 10,000 plus houses planned and being constructed which fills in much of that Eastern open space.
    Thus Wokingham will now be joined along the A329 Corridor route from Bracknell through to Reading converting what was once an attractive small market Town, into the usual urban sprawl with its infrastructure unable to cope, evident by the lines of traffic trying to move out or around the Town for a number of hours during the day.

    Yes of course we need new and increasing development as the population grows, as people get divorced to form two part family units, and as youngsters want a place of their own away from the family home, and of course we need to cater for the ever growing visitors from Europe.

    Are new Towns the answer, yes probably, providing they are located and planned well. Whilst we are but a small island and one of the most densely populated countries on this planet, we still have plenty of open space.

    So the questions are, do we want to develop it, if so how do we want to develop it, and where.

    We have had some successes, but also too many past failures, but whilst we need to think this through carefully before jumping in with two feet, we also need to move forward with a reasonable timescale and not spend decades in endless discussion over the rights of Newts.

  11. Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Such are the perils of a single currency across the UK.

    IMHO the key in the long term is to wean large northern towns off of the state and reduce employment costs so that we can get production going again. We should also do all we can to clear the way for fracking.

  12. Larry SilverStein
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    New housing estates popping up all across Wokingham; Its very noticeable!

    I cannot remember so much building here since the 1980s.

    I really do hope the infrastructure can cope.

  13. Aunty Estab
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    There must be an enormous waste of resources transporting people long distances into and out of London every day, a great waste of people’s time which could be put to productive use if the work could be nearer to where they live. Could do with some way of changing this way of thinking that everything must be in
    London.

  14. Mockbeggar
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Infrastructure spending in the Greater London area is considerably higher per head of population than in the North. While a lot of the North has been in decline there are pockets of commercial and industrial activity that are thriving. Better infrastructure might help these expand and create centres of excellence that can compete with the best in the world as do Cambridge and Milton Keynes at present. Perhaps if we were to drop the dubious HS2 investment and use the money to build better roads and communications on the Liverpool – Manchester – Leeds corridor (a northern Crossrail?) we might stimulate growth and take the pressure off the South East.

  15. ian wragg
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    If you and your cronies stopped letting half a million foreigners into the country every year there would be no housing shortage.
    Just when are you going to get a grip and start reducing the population and don’t tell me that immigration is needed to pay pensions, that’s a lie.
    You are destroying this country so don’t worry that UKIP are so popular.
    What are your thoughts on Roons 7 non negotiating ploys for the EU. The mans a complete joke.

    Reply I am all in favour of better controls on migration – being in the current EU makes that very difficult, which is why we need a new deal or the right to vote for Out.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Plenty could be done about non EU immigration right now. But Mr Cameron would rather listen to his (overseas ed)friends. If you are speaking up on these issues behind the scenes it is clearly not loud enough.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      John, I completely agree with your reply but why are we not debating David Cameron’s revelations in last Sunday’s Telegraph of his objectives for renegotiation ?

      Vague it might have been but I would have thought this long-awaited information would have been a high priority to be discussed here ?

      My initial thoughts were that he singularly failed to say he would vote to leave if he could not get a deal on all of the policy areas he mentioned. That probably tells us everything we need to know about his realistic expectations……..

    • stred
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Just arrived in Budapest for a week and found their EU attitude to immigration interesting. Just before arrival by air, my bird decided to rearrange my coat and must have tipped out my passport. Arriving without it, I had to wait 6 hours in no-mans land and was not allowed in as the customs officers tried to help. They could not find it in lost property and the plane staff apparently said it was not on the plane. They took details and ID from drivers licence and cards and tried to get the British embassy to issue a cover passport and stop the lost one.

      However, a persistently awkward lady insisted that it was totally illegal for them to confirm any details about any British citizen to foreigners and I and another British young lady, who had lost hers between the plane and passport control, would have to come to the embassy to get one, where it would be charged for. The Hungarians, understandably, refused to let us pass without ID. They also refused to let a Bulgarian man and a Georgian in and they were very upset, as their passports had been taken.

      After 4 hours, we were told that we would be put on the next plane home and have to pay for a standby ticket. My co- stateless person and I discussed the possiblity of making a run across the line and insisting on arrest, in order to become a citizen again in Hungary, or when we arrived in stateles Britain. She had a law degree and her family were all lawyers.

      In the event, she was sent back late at night to find her way from Luton to South London and they found my passport in lost property. The taxi driver said they had no problem with immigration in Hungary and he understood we had a big problem with welfare and immigration in the UK.

  16. Robert Taggart
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Ebbsfleet – good idea – it being most scrubland around there.
    This could even give Ebbsfleet ‘International’ HS1 train station it raison d’etre – at long last !

    12,500 new homes ? in Woky ?? where is the land ???
    Johnny – do you fancy becoming the Member of Parliament for Reading South East ? !

    • acorn
      Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      I was trying to remember Ebbsfleet; you have just reminded me that it was going to be Heseltines’s Canary Warf of the south bank. So how would Boris Island (Thames Reach Airport) connect to Ebbsfleet International Rail Station? Is everything on the south bank of the Thames called Thames Reach?

      Not that Boris Island will ever get built, the pictures on its website are good http://www.thamesreachairport.com/ . Unfortunately, this project is beyond the ability of the “UK Collective”; in fact, we are the absolute opposite of the Borg Collective. For what is basically a centrally planned and controlled economy, the UK does not get the advantages that they get in similar States like Dubai and other enlightened Kingdoms.

      Anyway, the consensus among the number crunchers is that we have to spot the emergence of Plan B in the budget. Stealth “fiscal” stimulus to boost the economy. There has been a bit of Plan B already, but non number crunchers will not have realised. Things like Help-to-Buy; fiscal stimulus disguised as monetary stimulus by the BoE. It is as plain as the nose on Osborne’s face that “austerity” has done some measurable damage to the UK economy.

      We are way off our trend GDP line, even compared to our peers. The same as it did in the first three years of the Thatcher and Major governments, but made worse by doing it in a demand side recession. What was that definition of madness; doing the same thing over and over … whatever.

      If we get another Conservative government you can bet its first three years will be exactly the same as Thatcher; Major and Osborne. Slash the public sector and watch the economy slow down … again.

    • stred
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Not far from this area is one of the few beautiful areas where we escape from the ugliness of London for a walk up a river valley. The nearby expanded villages are always poorly planned and as ugly as London. There are lavender fields and village ponds in the untouched parts, with riverside walks. Let’s hope they don’t ruin it and it doesn’t become another London ‘Stan’.

  17. Jim Mothersole
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The problem in Wokingham is all these new houses are going to bring a minimum of one car onto the roads, in all probability two. The roads around Wokingham are already almost at gridlock during peak times, I am expecting the new housing to push it over the top. There are no real new roads to take all this extra traffic, just bits and bobs leading into the developments. You should not sound proud of all this development, it will cause lots of misery in the long run. Try parking and getting to the doctors and that’s without 25,000 extra people.

    Reply These homes were required by Labour’s planning policies which I opposed at the time.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      25,000 extra people.
      The words tip and iceberg spring to mind bearing in mind the door is still wide open on our immigration policy.
      I find it staggering that a politician of Mr Redwood’s stature can only shrug his shoulders and effectively say’ I understand your concerns but there is nothing I can do’.
      Shocking.

  18. uanime5
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Unless these houses will be located near jobs then you’ll still have the same problem of people being unable to live near to where they work.

  19. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    On the topic of conventional wisdom, this states that economic growth is always a good thing.

    But is concreting over a bit more of England’s green and pleasant a good ?. Is increasing water consumption in the Thames valley a good idea ?.

    How are the people of Wokingham, lives going to be made better by being more crowded. Sure some people will benefit but it will be at the expense of someone else. So what new gain ?.
    I’m sure Mr Redwood has considered the fact that the people of Wokingham rather like the way it is now and don’t wish to see the character of their neighbourhood changed. But there are always politicians it seems, that just can’t seem to help themselves forver wanting to meddle and change things at a rate most people find uncomfortable.

    Why is it always more and more houses being built – what we need are hospitals, factories, reservoirs and roads. Yes we will need more supermarkets, hairdressers, and other service based industries. But what of value will these add to the economy – when they all can be summarised as ‘doing each others washing’.

    The combined debt of companies, households and governments is around %500 of GDP..or around 8000 billion pounds according to Dr Tim Morgan, formely of Tullet Prebon. Osborne’s new town is just a continuation of the mad ponzi scheme that got us into this mess.

    Reply More homes are beign built in Wokingham because the last Labour government required it, and the Council responded to their demands by putting 12,500 new homes into their local plan. I opposed the Labour government’s policy at the time, and asked for better controls over immigration, but lost thw argument as Labour had a large majority at the time.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      reply -reply

      Yes another legacy of the wonderful Mr John Prescott, it goes along with so many other policy failures of his.

      Amazing how with so many failures you can still get you very nearly the top, but then he was surrounded by so many who thought he was great.

      Such is politics !

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      So the wishes of the people of Wokingham (re[resented by their local mp) are steamrollered over to satisfy the demands for social change and vote rigging of a clique of Labour socialists at Westminster….and we call this a democracy!

  20. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    “Cambridge grows and grows owing to the success of its knowledge based activities.”

    Or perhaps it’s just a magnet for immigrants that can displace native workers in low skilled jobs. We don’t know what the outcome of this grand social experiment is

    I’m not sure what ‘knowledge based activities’ are but imagine them to be highly specialised requiring a limited number of highly skilled individuals. So why the need for whole new towns ?

  21. behindthefrogs
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    It wasn’t long ago that the local council vigorously defended the maintenance of a green strip between Wokingham and Bracknell. Amongst other things they refused both Tesco and the football club permission to build on what is now to become Montague Park. They refused the landlord of the Redan permission to adapt his historic pub to allow disabled access but now plan to demolish it as part of their town centre development. It is about time you as our local MP suppported those of us trying to preserve our historic town.

    Reply I do regularly do that. I lost the battle against the last Labour government over this current phase of housebuilding in Wokingham, and the Council placed four sites in their local plan to comply.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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