Housebuilding, congestion and flooding

 

New housebuilding has risen from the lows  of the Great recession but is still running well below the levels the housebuilding industry thinks is necessary, and below the levels of new household formation. Part of this is related to the immigration issues which we have often debated on this site. Today I wish to look at other matters.

If the country chooses a Conservative government next May and if that government succeeds in getting a new deal to control migration from the EU, there will still be a need to build new homes for people already settled here and for the newcomers we still invite in from all round the world. No-one in the policy and political world is proposing an end to all migration. The UK is an attractive place and there will be  some further expansion of numbers.

This government has promoted more homeownership and more housebuilding through a variety of means. Mending the banks, setting out the Right to buy scheme, and creating a background of more jobs and growth have all contributed to the increase in new homes. More land has been made available for development.

There are still predictable tensions between housebuilders and settled communities accepting new development. In an area like Wokingham we have accepted substantial new building over the years. Some of this has been properly planned by the local Council with supporting roads, schools and other facilities. Some was pressed upon us by Planning Inspectors under the previous government’s top down regime.  The danger of this could be seen in aggravated flooding problems, road congestion and the need to expand school and medical provision without the local community always generating the capital receipts from the development to cover these associated costs.

Future development needs to be at a  sustainable level with care taken to ensure that substantial new development sites are properly prepared with good road access, public service provision and above all with proper methods of dealing with faster run off of  the surface water and with the waste water that buildings generate. Councils and the Highways Agency also need to use the opportunity afforded by new development to update and upgrade the road network which is becoming  increasingly congested.

 

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55 Comments

  1. Posted November 6, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Housebuilding, congestion and flooding? Surely, the common denominator here is the underlying malignancy of the EU and its efforts to destroy our culture and bankrupt our country. The hopelessness of it all is that it is a malignancy that is embedded in Westminster – yes, our own representatives, guilty of aiding and abetting. Daniel Hannan’s piece in The Telegraph yesterday, 5th November:

    “I’m glad that the MPs of 1605 – those brave, hard-drinking, quarrelsome patriotic men – are not around to see how their successors behave. I’m glad that they can’t watch as the House of Commons whose prerogatives they championed surrenders its rights, not as the result of terrorism or insurrection or foreign invasion, but by its own votes.”

  2. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    We need to keep the greenbelts green and ensure that original paper work regarding the legalities of building is not lost and twisted in cyber space.

    We constantly hear about the need to build houses yet in the North West we have a glut of houses up for sale. We simply do not need any more. If more and more houses are built it will simply spoil it for all of those who have strived all their lives to put a roof over their heads and find a way of passing down capital to their children who will not be supported by our great state in the years to come.

    Politicians and businesses have to see clearer . My father , before Margaret Thatcher ever came into being ,had the vision of home ownership for many , but this diamond of investment will be changed over night to Zircon with a mountain of empty houses.

    We should not have sold off the social housing. The whole economy is built around dynamism ( and to be a little more dramatic : the whole universe is dynamic) and therefore we should not attempt to tip the balance by removing variability.

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      I lost track of how many times you contradicted yourself in that rant. It appears to boil down to:

      “I’m long house prices, so the government should stop anyone else building more houses, lest house prices fall.”

  3. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Anyone who has tried to obtain planning permission for housing will realise that the problem is that England is full, with little or no land left. That is unless we abondon planning legislation and the Green Belt. There have been opportunities to develop sites in cities but these are running out. There were opportunities to knock down large underused houses and build flats but the first thing the coalition did was to stop this. We have by far the highest population density in western Europe. Folowing the decision to keep the UK united, how about insisting that we develop the Highlands now it has been ruined by windfarms anyway, and cut tax and build more whisky distilleries there.

  4. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I live in the Fens and this year Whittlesea was flooded as was March. I researched this, having read Christopher Booker, and discovered to my horror that the flooding on the Somerset Levels was actually caused by the government! Mr Monbiot of the Guardian was advocating flooding as part of his Green Agenda. This was warmly supported by the Labour Government where someone from the RSPB was put in charge of the Environment Agency.
    Owen Paterson seemed to be the only person who was in there putting it right…

    In the summer we had floods where they had never been before – lots of them. At the mouth of the Nen(e) is a brand new agency…

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Mike ,

      The Green Agenda comes from the UN Agenda 21 (21st century) arising from the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit .

      One of the conclusions was that educated people tend to have higher incomes and have greater resource consumption .

      Hence education for the masses in the U.S. and the U.K. has been dumbed down to recognise and concentrate on “the social outcome function of education” i.e. the job of education is to prepare children 0f plebs for the lower key future which has been decided for them .

      Look at Milibands/Briony Worthington’s Climate Change Act .

      It is just a implementation of Agenda 21 on a national level right down to legal measures to prevent the cost of green measures being made transparent on the electricity/gas bill .

      Humans are supposed to be vacating parts of the world which the elites have decided are to be returned to nature – e.g. the Somerset Levels .

      Sustainable development in global terms is a contradiction in terms – it means arresting development .

      Before we go building all these houses and before we bin the climate change act we need the leaders of the world to bin Agenda 21 with it’s requirement for genocide to get wrid of 3 out of 4 of us .

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      And the EA sold off the dredging equipment which was a bit of clue what they were up to. All for the EU habitat directive. An expensive quango to implement the will of the EU.

      The current planning legislation is equally as bad without money for services or infrastructure. Localism is a complete joke and has no meaning whatsoever, no appeals allowed to influence builds. All to cope with mass immigration. Boles wanting to build on national parks and every bit of green belt. With over 200,000 extra people each year, likely to be more as there is no proper counting records, coming here where is the energy and water going to come from and at what price? Someone ought to have got a grip after 4 1/2 years.

      • Posted November 7, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        You would think they could have got more for the equipment from a private dredging contractor .

        Essentially they gave it away on condition it would be scrapped .

        Another clue to their intentions .

  5. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Here they are mass building houses whilst running down services. I’m sure it is the same elsewhere.

    The doctors, schools and hospitals are unable to cope.

    They are also running down the work – frequently demolishing factories and building housing estates on those sites.

    This is not planned or controlled. It is a disaster. An utter disaster.

    There is no question of sensible planning now or in the future. We either learn to live in multi occupancy households or we build houses beyond the supporting infrastructure and services.

    The UK an attractive place ? (not for much longer !) Yes. Compared to economic and war torn disaster zones of course it is. Especially with welfare and free state facilities. A no brainer for anyone from the third world.

    But the more serious question is why 300,000 funded and qualified people are leaving it every year.

    Australia and Canada are attractive places too but their politicians put their own people first and know how to say NO.

    It is anomalous that Tories cut subsidies to UK industry last century to expose our people to the rigors of global competition and yet now provide subsidies to import global competition against them.

  6. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Chaos often happens when governments think they know better than the locals.

    You think congestion is bad at the moment in Wokingham, wait until all of Mr Prescotts dream houses are built around here with little planned road improvement.

    Eventually 40,000 more people in the area and already the schools are full, and the hospitals up to capacity.

    Planned local road improvements are at the moment a joke.

  7. Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “of the Great recession but is still running”

    This is at least the second time you have used the term ‘Great recession’, would you kindly define it please?

    We have definitions ( in terms of economics and employment levels ) for ‘recession’ and ‘depression’. ‘Great recession’ seems to be your term, but is meaningless unless it has a proper definition.

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he means it was ‘great’ because he was on a lifetime, base-rate + 1% tracker mortgage?

  8. Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “If the country chooses a Conservative government next May and if that government succeeds in getting a new deal to control migration from the EU”, two rather big ifs, multiplying the two probabilities gives perhaps perhaps a 1% chance that both come true? Cameron still not even saying he will ever support an out vote when asked by Miliband yesterday, not much negotiation skills in evidence, send him on a negotiation course or better still get someone else to do it?

    For houses clearly you need to sort out the lack of any real competition in banking. This means they can pay zero interest in many cases to depositors but then lend it out at say 3-6% on secured mortgages. The over control of mortgage regulation, slotting and banking capital requirements are being very badly done and is far, far too restrictive.

    Also relax planning, reduce utility connection rip off costs, reduce the absurd green building regulations & costs and build proper houses rather than rabbit hutches with no room to extend them or even store a bike or tiny car. Build them where they are needed too.

    How are the government going to build more roads when they want to waste the money on green crap exaggeration religion, bloated government, the EU and HS2/3/4? They have a huge deficit which is getting worse again despite/because of the over high tax rates.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      It is interesting to see the government expenditure breakdown now supplied to taxpayers.

      This however misses much of the real costs of government. These arise through huge over regulation and licencing, the many EU insanities, vague and stupid/random employment laws, over complex taxation, the litigation culture, the very poor NHS and schools, the equality agenda, the paying of people to not work, expensive energy by religion, the minimum wage and the many jobs lost as a result.

      The misdirection of Capital to fake greenery by grants causes huge damage peppering the country with cuff pointless technology that does not even work economically and never will do.

  9. Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    JR: “No-one in the policy and political world is proposing an end to all migration.”
    Particularly your excuse for a leader who is reported thus in today’s Daily Mail :
    ‘David Cameron says he wants to see Britain’s first Asian PM in his lifetime as he warns that a lack of diversity is holding the country back’.
    The duplicity of this man is quite appalling even for a politician yet you support him to the hilt.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson ,

      We are in silly season – Cameron’s pronouncement could be dismissed as electioneering .

      Then again Cameron certainly didn’t get where he is today on merit

      It only seems natural that he would prefer things like Governance to be planned by those who understand such things rather than left to the electorate .

      The LibLabCon Cartel has probably anointed the said person already or at least been told who it is going to be .

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      I think on all counts Mr Cameron’s time is almost up. Who would you want negotiating on behalf of the British people, particularly the English? Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Milliband or Farage? Point made.
      I see that Mr Junker even commented on what Mr Cameron said about the £1.7 billion EU surcharge in a private room and what he said publically to the press afterwards.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      What do you want him to say? The opposite.?

  10. Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Apart from the ludicrous Help to Buy scheme – which simply sustains house prices at their ludicrously high levels – by helping youngsters to put a noose around their necks by taking on massive mortgages at historically low interest rates (and which, I would suggest, is immoral) – NOTHING about helping youngsters own their own homes without waiting for their parents to die and try to have children when they are 40 years old.

    Governments need to stop allowing banks to inflate the housing market. Strict, non-negotiable rules should be put on mortgage/salary multiples and 25 year mortgages with fixed interest rates for the whole term should be brought back. If the banks don’t like it, the government should print the money and lend it to youngsters at, say, 4% fixed for 25 years. The government would get a return on its ‘created out of thin air’ money and young people would get a chance in life.

    The prospects facing young people with average earnings are bleak now due to the insane lending practices over the last (20, 30 or 40 (take your pick)) years – all aided and abetted by governments desperate to create artificial growth. And bloody buy to let should be restricted too. A rental sector enabling workforce location flexibility is one thing – but allowing buy to let landlords to start to corner the market by building ‘portfolios’ is unfair. Why will banks lend to Fred, who already ‘owns’ 5 buy to let properties – who then rents them to ‘Jim’ and expects Jim’s rent to pay his mortgage for him – when they won’t lend to ‘Jim’ directly – so he can buy the place for himself. Because ‘Fred’ had a bit of equity in his buy to let empire? Equity that can disappear overnight if interest rates go up and the property market goes down.

    But, of course, the government is determined that interest rates are to be low forever in this brave new world. One of these days savers are going to wake up and move their money out of the traditional banks and into investments that actually pay a return.

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry , Mike. This rigging can’t last forever. When it collapses this country will be a wasteland and I hope that people then hold the politicians and financiers properly to account.

      Of an impending collapse, Bill Gross, founder of the largest bond fund in the world wrote this recently :

      “Stopping the printing press sounds like a great solution to the depreciation of our purchasing power but today’s printing is simply something that the global finance based economy cannot live without. Going home again, to paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, is something you just can’t do. Modern economies have grown used to inflationary sand and cannot grow in the concrete based economy that Grant eulogizes in his magnificently written histories.

      Why not? Simple math, I suppose. Our 2014 U.S. Oldsmobile requires 4% nominal growth just to keep it running, and Euroland economies need at least 3%. Having created outstanding official and shadow banking credit of nearly $100 trillion with an average imbedded interest rate of 4% to 5%, the Fed presses must crank out new credit (nominal growth) of approximately the same 4% to 5% just to pay the interest rate tab. That of course wasn’t the case in Grant’s 19th century version – there was very little debt to service. But now at 500% to 600% of GDP (shadow debt included), it’s a Sisyphean struggle just to stay above water. Inflation, in other words – or in simple math – is required to pay for prior inflation. Deflation is no longer acceptable.”

      And guess what these desperate clowns are creating ? Hyperdeflation as all risk money get sucked out of the economy and into the bond market. If you think this is sustainable, I have a bridge to sell you. When(not if) debt of 600% of GDP is eventually defaulted upon, God help all of us.

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      savers are going to wake up and move their money out of the traditional banks and into investments that actually pay a return

      But at the end of the day, once the money has gone from buyer, to broker, to seller, the money is still a bank deposit and nothing has actually changed.

      You can keep money in the bank and earn 0% or keep it as coin and note, earn 0% and risking losing 100% of it to theft.

      It’s if everyone pays back their loans that the money disappears.

  11. Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    There are many intangibles concerning the forthcoming GE ; before I vote I need a couple of things clarified ; 1) what exactly is Cameron attempting to negotiate with the EU ? ( the outcome of this really decides whether – or not , the promised referendum has a value and is worth having ) , 2) if he wins on immigration restrictions and the other terms of membership appear reasonable , how will this apply to those immigrants from the EU who are already here and are “unwanted” ( out of a job , receiving benefits etc ) ?.
    The infrastructure problems related to housing , education and health are all related to numbers and cannot be planned for efficiently without the reasonable certainty of numbers . I cannot see how any regional authority can decide these issues without knowing where their feet touch the ground .

  12. Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    As election leaflets go, this one’s a bit short of getting you a “Blue Peter” badge.

    The Chief muppet to the treasury doesn’t understand the relationship between crude price and refined products markets that come out of these complex and expensive things called refineries, but it’s election time init!

    Unleaded Petrol is 35.6 pence per litre today, Diesel 40.1 p/l. The price has dropped about 15% since this time last year, Crude has dropped circa 22% in the same period.

    So that is 35.6 p/l for petrol; 10.5 p for the supply chain margin and 79.3 p/l for the Treasury. Just imagine if all our taxes and duties were added at the till. 46.1 petrol; 57.95 excise duty and 20.9 VAT = 124.9 p/l.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      It would be very good indeed if all the petrol pumps said petrol 35p per litre plus taxes of 80p for the government. This mainly to be wasted on daft HS trains, pointless wars, the EU, a dysfunction NHS, poor education, payments to the feckless and endless green crap and electric car subsidies.

      Freedom of information is a very good thing.

  13. Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The word ‘sustainable’ is the current buzz word of Whitehall and Ministers. It is the most overused word in the English language.
    Dictionary : Ecology-Capable of being continued indefinitely. Environmentalists made the term a catchword, in advocating the sustainable use of resources.
    Have you read the National Planning Policy Framework?
    The Ministerial foreword:
    The purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development.
    Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations.
    Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment.
    So sustainable development is about positive growth – making economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations.
    The planning system is about helping to make this happen.

    Sounds like a prescription for paradise, in which we all have a say in the homes we inhabit and where and how we live.

    Introduction
    The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.
    It sets out the Government’s requirements for the planning system only to the extent that it is relevant, proportionate and necessary to do so. It provides a framework within which local people and their accountable councils can produce their own distinctive local and neighbourhood plans, which reflect the needs and priorities of their communities.

    So the Department for Communities and Local Government appears to devolve its responsibility for writing the planning rules upon Local Government, provided they stay within the framework.

    The framework comprises 200 paragraphs of idealistic policies and how to implement them spread over 42 pages.
    Looking at the lists of documents in Annex 3 replaced by this Framework one begins to realise NPPF is long on idealistic planning jargon and short on the parameters needed.
    Planning rules have always set limits and standards to be observed, such as ‘green belts’, density of build, atmospheric pollution control, and noise pollution.
    E.g. the word noise occurs about a dozen times in NPPF but not one mention of the unit of sound – the decibel. PPG24, which has been shredded set out the site decibel limits at bedroom height above which planning permission should be refused. This would apply to sites bordering motorw
    Planning rules have always set limits and standards to be observed, such as ‘green belts’, density of build, atmospheric pollution control, and noise pollution.
    E.g. the word noise occurs about a dozen times in NPPF but not one mention of the unit of sound – the decibel. PPG24, which has been shredded set out the site decibel limits at bedroom height above which planning permission should be refused. This would apply to sites bordering motorways.

    The supposed purpose of NPPF was to speed up the granting of planning permission, but we have been left with the shambles where each and everyone of the 336 planning authorities have to rewrite their planning rules to incorporate NPPF. Will there be 336 different sets of rules and at what cost to the Council Tax payer?

    In many respects it is quite meaningless, unless qualified. It remains up to local planning authority to interpret and the Inspectorate to overrule.

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      What a good scheme to muddy the waters, allow big housebuilders to swing permissions which will be too expensive for anyone else, and create much work and fees for the planners.

  14. Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I have a controversial idea. Why not at General Elections let people choose the number of houses that will be built in their ward from a list like
    a) 100 houses -zero immigration
    b) 200 houses – x thousand per year
    c) 400 houses – x thousand per year etc
    I hope the idea is clear. What ever number was most popular in a ward would be used
    to i) create more houses there ii) and in a small way to choose the Governments immigration target.
    Then people who want lots of immigration can live in super crowded places and those that don’t, won’t have to.

    I like this idea because I know lots of people who support mass immigration but are NIMBIES – this would make such a thing impossible. Perhaps Vince Cable’s voters would like to see Richmond Park made into a housing estate for new immigrants.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Building on Richmond Park is preferable to what is being done to Wokingham and its surroundings.

      • Posted November 7, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Why? It only takes me 45 minutes to get the 4 miles into Bracknell in the mornings. By the time the housing out near the A329M is finished, and the housing on the charity land on Nile Mile Ride near Pinewood and the TRL has had 1500 houses on it – so the journey goes up to an hour! So what! We’re only a bunch of plebs. Learn your place! I have.

  15. Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The main problem in my area with development is the failure to keep the infrastructure up-to-date. The two doctor’s surgeries have more patients than they can cope with and their car parking facilities are now inadequate. The council has sold of some of the school land for housing, land which will in due course probably be needed to further enlarge the schools, which have already doubled in size during the thirty years that we’ve lived here and which cause significant problems for nearby residents with the traffic and parking that they generate. We get flooding in some streets (although on high ground) due to rainwater coming out of the overloaded drainage system as a result of new building on the higher ground. The drive to the nearest supermarket, which once took about ten minutes, now takes at least double that, with the town centre permanently congested at most times of the working day.
    Meanwhile, the government intends to spend billions of pounds on HS2 to save a limited number of travellers half an hour on their journeys; they would save far more travelling time if they spent the money on improving local roads and facilities around the country and would certainly please far more people.

  16. Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I note government enthusiasm for there to be more growth in selected areas outside London, such as northern cities. OK, but what about elsewhere? Do communities have to be city sized to warrant government attention? Are villages to follow recent trends of becoming dormitories without a heart, existing only to provide commuters to the cities and large towns?

    Is there a strategy for the Country as a whole? Seems more like we are seeing yet another “top priority” initiative in response to the latest popularist cause.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree we want a United England not cities-v-villages-Shires, the North needs better connections, telecommunications, roads, metrolinks and on.

  17. Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Individual planners And planning committees should be liable for damages where they knowingly or should have known approvals are sited on flood plains or areas liable to flooding

  18. Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “No-one in the policy and political world is proposing an end to all migration.”

    In the opinion poll mentioned here in March 2013:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/03/there-is-no-left-and-right-expect-in-political-imagination.html

    in which respondents were asked to choose between a range of options for the maximum annual rate of immigration that should be allowed, almost one in five of them wanted just that, an end to all immigration.

    Only about 6% thought there should be no limit on immigration.

    While the median view was about 70,000 a year; that is to say, half of respondents would think that to be too low and half would think that to be too high.

    Just 70,000 a year, not the 473,000 that the ONS says came here legally during the year following that opinion poll.

    Let alone an even higher number including those who came here illegally in the hope that they won’t be discovered, and even if they discovered they won’t be removed, and maybe eventually there will be an amnesty.

    I wonder what those in the “policy and political world”, many of them drawn from that 6% who want unlimited immigration, think they are playing at; this is supposed to be a democratic country, not their private estate to do with as they please, and poll after poll shows that the citizens of this country want immigration drastically curtailed, and yet they simply carry on deliberately defying the very clear will of the great majority of the citizens and imposing their own warped, it could even be said sick, will instead.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m not really sure what they think they are playing at to be honest. Surely history illustrates what happens when the so-called ruling elite continually defies the will of the majority?

      Maybe they think the Westminster bubble is bombproof – someone needs to tell them it’s actually only imaginary!!

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      What was it in Scotland I thought the SNP and the parties supporters wanted to encourage mass immigration to Scotland?

      • Posted November 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        The leaders of the SNP definitely do want immigrants from abroad by the million, claiming to be enlightened “civic” Scottish nationalists rather than nasty atavistic “ethnic” Scottish nationalists. I doubt that many of those who vote for SNP candidates would actually agree with them on that, but despite constant pretences to the contrary they are at least mostly united in their traditional suspicion and dislike of the English. When Scottish society has been changed beyond all recognition by mass immigration some of them might belatedly start to ask the same question, “What do these people think they are playing at?”

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Denis, google the following. “March 27, 2013 9:00 AM. Reminder: How Mexico Treats ‘Undesirable’ Foreigners”. The Mexican model is basically what Redwoodians are clamouring for.

      There again, should you wish to escape from the dark side of the force, try my “Centrist” approach. (One day, I will turn this into a proper MMT based, economy centred, political party; should I live long enough). Google, ” How Labour can solve the immigration conundrum It’s very simple really.”

      • Posted November 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        And what are you clamouring for?

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Why do you think that is Denis. ?Do you think there could be a secret agenda?

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Dr Redwood goes further and says that there is likely to be further upwards pressure on numbers ..despite emigration of around 150,000 per year.
      So immigration below 150,000 per year isn’t even on the table – and we are supposed to live in a democracy.

  19. Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Who can say what the end-game will be as a result of politicians, governments, local authority free lunch Councillors as they pander to ongoing desire for property, housing, road connections with an ever increasing influx of people desiring the same. More votes for now to particular people.
    And if and when social violence ensues politicians will be out of office and it’s “the previous government’s fault “. At least that it is the peaceful… “Wasn’t me guv “end-game if democracy as we know it survives the process.

  20. Posted November 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    In areas with little architectural legacy such as the thames estuary region and most of the East End there should be big developments of 20-30 story flats – nice ones which are desirable*, affordable and with new links to central london such as fast trams. With the will to do it the London housing shortage could be solved.

    *all with balconies, roof gardens, energy efficient and with community facilitates such as swimming pools, etc

  21. Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    We have had about 3 million immigrants since 1997. Even if immigration ceased tomorrow, there would still be a substantial backlog in the provision of housing. London is bursting at the seams, with a population getting on for 9 million. There is a prediction that it could go as high as 10 million.

    You don’t have to let the business community control the immigration agenda. If immigration decreases drastically, they will simply have to use labour more smartly. What I want for the economy of this country is GDP per capita growth, not GDP growth.

  22. Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    You say “Councils and the Highways Agency also need to use the opportunity afforded by new development to update and upgrade the road network which is becoming increasingly congested.” But what councils and the Agency have done is mainly to block the roads, put islands in, have empty bus lanes with empty buses, phase traffic lights against the 85%? of traffic that are cars, create “environmental” areas so you drive further.
    All paid for by the car drivers who are tax and mugged all over the place.

    All this in the name of the fake green, exaggeration, religion and the bike, bus, train good – car, van, plane bad “BBC think” religion.

    What is bad for CO2 emissions and productivity is all this pointless congestion.

    They want congestion to push there agenda.

  23. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I am suprised by the number of properties and land available east of the City of London. Thankfully a lot is now being developed. I’m not sure of the reasons for why these properties remain undeveloped but the more that is the less pressure on the commuter belt and the country side. There are a lot of long disused (decades) commercial properties yards from the City. Who owns these, why are they not developed. On one hand I don’t mind as it’s areas to walk which aren’t rammed with people but lets make use of these before we build on the countryside. Plenty of space and disused areas towards Shoreditch, Hoxton. A nice row of commercial properties in Toynbee St yards 100 yards from the square mile area.

    About 500 yards from there is an old disused brewery that does house some activity. However, within its off limits compound is a large vehicle park type area for when the brewery lorries used to load up. Yards on from there and there is fenced off lands. Developments beginning but who is sitting on these?

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      TfL has a plot of fenced off land in Aldgate that is disused apart from the fauna and fly tipping. They won’t need another station there, it’s well served. I think for London there does need to be a time limit on how many years, decades people can sit on land disused before they are required to sell. The result of this means new towns and development in the country to a greater extent than is needed.

      • Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        I mean the TfL site in prime Aldgate in the number one city in the world yards from the square mile is given over to dog weed for decades. At least pave it and rent out for food stalls come market and get some income. There is underground space there as well. Yards from there is a business operating out of a disused public underground toilet. In fact closer is another disused underground toilet locked off 50 yards from City proper ever since I can remember, these can be turned into bars and shops. Who owns these places?

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Indeed, John Robertson. There are brown field sites throughout the country that could be used for additional housing.

      • Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes, a new town generates the headlines
        news but picking up the loose change dotted around the country doesn’t.

  24. Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    What stands out is the acknowledgement by JR of the conspiracy by the ‘policy and political world’ to ignore the views of the majority and impose a very extreme policy of mass immigration. What part of what happened in Clackton and now Rochester do they not understand ?.

    I thought politicians were supposed to reflect public opinion – not stick together to maintain the same position – that mass immigration is rational and desireable and that those uncomfortable with the pace of change are extremists or racists.

    The moderate view of the general public is that there is a balance to be struck on immigration – between the benefits for employers against the need to maintain open spaces, keep pressure on public services down and protect the environment. The balance is now firmly in favour of curbing immigration – the politicians just need to catch up.

    Leftists need to explain why they want the Uk to reduce it’s CO2 emissions and reduce pollution…but are relaxed about border policy that will lead to a doubling of the Uk population in a lifetime. Do they ever stop and contemplate how much extra electricity, water, plastics, food, oil, bricks, cement, etc. each additional family needs ?

    Dr Redwood says that there will be a continued expansion of the population despite emmigration from the Uk of around 150,000 per annum. So we can expect the numbers of immigrants to be above 150,000 for the foreseable future.

    I admire John Redwoods honesty. His message to the people of Wokingham and beyond is …I recognise the problems of immigration and that it might negatively effect your standard of living. But there is little that can be done as the political classes are against you.
    You may find your roads increasingly more congested, your child might have to accept being in a larger class or not be able to go to a prefered school ..you might have to wait longer for NHS treatment.
    The open green space on the outskirts of town that you, your parents, great grandparents all enjoyed.that will probably have to be built on. …

    Reply I do not support 150,000 a yer, a figure you have madeup. I am trying to get control of our borders back so we can control numbers!

    • Posted November 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply – I appreciate you have a heavy workload.
      JR – If the country chooses a Conservative government next May and if that government succeeds in getting a new deal to control migration from the EU, there will still be a need to build new homes for people already settled here and for the newcomers we still invite in from all round the world. No-one in the policy and political world is proposing an end to all migration. The UK is an attractive place and there will be some further expansion of numbers.

      The figure of 150,000 was a conservative estimate of the number of emigrants from the Uk in 2013. The ONS figure is much higher at 320,000.

      So for there to be, in your own words (after renegotiation) ,’a need to build new homes for people already settled here and for the newcomers’ the number of migrants would be something in excess of the substancial numbers leaving the country. So the Conservative ‘new deal’ on migration is still mass immigration ?.
      Why wont the political and policy world accept we can allow managed migration without putting additional pressure on housing and infrastructure by balancing migration with emigration ?.

      Reply When we last had a Conservative government net migration was up to 50,000 a year. It is the net figure that matters for the provision of housing.

  25. Posted November 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Have to say to Mr Redwood it’s poor form indeed not posting my reply yesterday. Nothing I said was remotely controversial I thought you valued open debate and free speech.
    I was not critical of you personally – but of the wider ‘policy and political world’ that thumbs it’s nose at popular opinion.
    If your blog is to be edited to exclude comments that might be unhelpful to the Conservative party or be perceived as non politically correct it will quickly descend into pointlessness.

  26. Posted November 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    What stands out is the acknowledgement by JR of the conspiracy by the ‘policy and political world’ to ignore the views of the majority and impose a very extreme policy of mass immigration. What part of what happened in Clackton and now Rochester do they not understand ?.

    The moderate view of the general public is that there is a balance to be struck on immigration – between the benefits for employers against the need to maintain open spaces, keep pressure on public services down and protect the environment. The balance is now firmly in favour of curbing immigration – the politicians just need to catch up.

    Leftists need to explain why they want the Uk to reduce it’s CO2 emissions and reduce pollution…but are relaxed about a border policy that will lead to a doubling of the Uk population in a lifetime. Do they ever stop and contemplate how much extra electricity, water, plastics, food, oil, bricks, cement, etc. each additional family needs ?

    Dr Redwood says that there will be a continued expansion of the population despite emmigration from the Uk of around 150,000 per annum. So we can expect the numbers of immigrants to be well above 150,000 for the foreseable future.

  27. Posted November 8, 2014 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Are the Somerset Levels above water yet?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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