Another bad algorithm

On Wednesday the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local government listened to concerns from MPs in private at a meeting. Yesterday he listened in public to more of those concerns in a Parliamentary debate.

I have put my issues with his Planning proposals to him on several occasions now. I think planning needs to have three principles at its heart. The first is planning solutions should allow local communities and their Councils to shape the built landscape they live in and preside over. The second is levelling up is an important and popular policy. That means diverting more of the large investment in new housing to the parts of the country that welcome more investment and need to attract more talented people to their communities who may well want to be buy a new home as part of the attraction. The third is the promotion of home ownership, which is going to be easier to do in parts of the country with lower house prices and most difficult in affluent communities with highly priced land.

The government proposal genuflects to the first principle and says it wants local communities and Councils to have their say, but that is overridden by the algorithm which decides in advance how many extra homes a place will have whether they want them or not.

The second principle and policy aim is not only overridden but overturned by the algorithm. By making high prices of homes the main determinant of where to put new ones it guarantees increasing the build of homes and the investment and jobs that goes with it in the most affluent places, and starves the places that want more jobs and investment by actually reducing the numbers of homes built there to below the current level.

The third principle is also thwarted by the algorithm, ensuring new homes will remain expensive.

Instead if there is to be the other reforms of planning the government wants, we need an algorithm or a way of calculating how many homes based on the reverse principles. It should offer more new home investment where house prices are low, where there is a shortage of good new family and executive homes, and should be linked to a community and Council which it says it buys into levelling up and welcomes new talent to come to the new homes.

Areas like Wokingham have attracted disproportionate amounts of the talent and well qualified people through the building of large new estates of executive and family homes. It is time to share this growth and prosperity more widely. We should not reinforce the growth by the planning system in the most successful areas, but copy the success elsewhere. This rogue algorithm will do the opposite of levelling up.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Reading this article I cannot believe it came from a Conservative MP let alone our kind host.

    There is only one algorithm that we need to concern ourselves with, and that is of DEMAND and SUPPLY. We keep banging on about this. Currently supply for homes in London and the South East outstrips supply. This leads to property prices in those areas being higher than elsewhere.

    What is it that our political class cannot understand about market forces ? They all seem to have this God like complex. Whether it be the economy, society, housing or a relatively harmless virus, they seem determined to try and control it. It is as if they want us to believe that they possess some great mystical powers. YOU DON’T !!!

    This so called ‘Leveling up ? I would be interested in knowing from our kind host what this means and how it will be achieved?

    Taking into consideration that a pie (econonomy) is only so big, if one wanted others to have more of said pie, then it only stands to reason that others will have to have less. If this is the case then what is the point of voting Conservative when all you will get is Socialism ?

    The Tory Wets have taken over the party and it seems that we are going to have relive the 70’s all over again. And for those who were not around at the time, all I can say is, you’re in for one he’ll of a treat 😉

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      The pie can of course very easily be much bigger. You just need far fewer state sector workers, a bonfire or red tape, cheaper on demand energy, far fewer parasitic jobs, fewer worthless degrees (and soft loans for them), real competion in education, health care, energy, broadcasting, easy hire and fire, relaxed, simpler and quicker planning rules. lower simpler taxes.

      In short more people doing sensible productive things and few parsites getting in their way.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Quite happy for the pie to be the size it was in about 1987 thanks.

        • Hope
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          I think what JR is trying to say is that this is another catostrophic policy decision, that follows previous failures over ten long years of failure!

          Fake Tories changed the planning laws under useless Boles who had a remainer tantrum over Brexit. He was followed by their ministerial disasters in the role. Leading to Covid law breaking, rule breaking Jenrick!

          I think JR is being polite about algorithms, I think this might be code or actually he means who donates the largest to Fake Tory party at dinner parties! No wonder the algorithm does not add up, it is a bit like the fake manipulated Chinese virus figures!

          A reminder of the past fiddling figures of balancing the structural deficit to changing to structural deficit as percentage of GDP!

      • Arthur Wrightiss
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Totally agree.

        • Hope
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          JR, to give context to your blog and its accuracy could you tell us the true immigration figure from all types of immigration and illegal immigration please. That is if you dare to be accurate.

          Please start with NI numbers issued to foreign nationals each year. Please do not use the survey estimates the govt uses to give a completely false picture.

          In this day and age if the country can count horses, sheep and cows in and out the country it should be able to manage to accurately count people.

      • Nigel
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Singapore on Thames. If only.

      • Mike Durrans
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Well said Lifelogic, I agree!

        We need also to outlaw the use of Algorithms in politics as they surely are rubbish in – rubbish out when examined.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps just make the people who use them accept that it is they who mucked up not the algorithm tool they designed.

        • Hope
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          How about the urban ghettos under the label of urban villages!

          Do all forms of immigration figures and population growth match housing need, hospitals or schools? The govt will never succeed without having a proper immigration policy.

        • M Davis
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear!

      • JohnK
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Mr Logic:

        I agree with your points. With regard to housing, I must say that importing a million people (net) every four or five years can hardly help. We are running to stand still.

        Near to me, central government diktat means that 7,000 houses (yes, seven thousand!) are planned to be built on an area of ancient peatland. Imagine the CO2 that will release. It seems CO2 is only “dangerous” if it comes from cars, not from government building schemes.

        Talking of cars, the effects of 7,000 new homes, which means at least 14,000 new cars on the local road network does not bear thinking about.

        Under Boris, we are being given greencrap, we are having our liberties taken away, and are threatened with ever more taxation. Why bother to vote Conservative when you get socialism anyway? Our so-called Conservative Party is to the left of the Democrats in the US! They even share the same fatuous slogan, “Build Back Better”. What’s the point of them?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink


        • Hope
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          I know of one urban ghetto already building 17,000 houses. No one said/says where the jobs will come from. That was before Chinese virus.

          Community charge is based on those who pay. In some areas only 45% of households pay the proper amount. This means the rest get subsidized or get for free. So the 45% have to pay for those who cannot or will not! 5% increase year on year despite Fake Tory promises to freeze and in addition an extra bill for social adult care and one for flood defense! Despite the expensively useless Environment Agemcynthat caused many homes to flood through strict EU regulation adherence!

          We read today U.K. Johnson will cave to EU demand to be part of ECHR and state aid! If true stop load them up on the trains, take them by high speed train(HS2) to all corners of England. I say England because the English people do not have a voice or representation. Just pay the most tax.

          When Sturgeon orders a close down who pays for it? She is in charge of health but it is the English taxes that pays for her decisions is it not?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          I’m afraid you are right.

        • NickC
          Posted October 10, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          JohnK, Officially we have living in our country over 9 million people not born in the UK. That likely means at least 12 million in reality. If only half went home, we would need 2 million fewer homes, at the usual average occupancy rate of three per household.

          This is a mature country with a naturally stable or even falling population. Consequently we do not need any new build homes except replacements and upgrades to the existing housing stock. Government propaganda to the contrary is false.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        yes and more power in the individuals own hands and far less state allocation and rationing, in everything including schools, healthcare, social (& other) housing, etc

    • Andy
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      The pie itself can – and does – grow. There can be more pie for everyone but when the Tories are in power the extra pie all goes to the old and the rich.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Not true.
        Check the statistics.

      • steve
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink


        Except that we don’t have Tory government.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Interesting way to describe the NHS – certainly it is both old and rich. Moreover it is ‘retired’.

        • Fred H
          Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          or even just ‘tired’.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Look at yourself. You say were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth yet today you are successful and prosperous. Above all you have the Thatcher govt’s fundamental reforms to thank for your good fortune, no doubt also your own talents and efforts.

        Now you should support the extension of your good fortune to others by supporting free market, pro innovation, free trade and free enterprise policies. The current Conservative Party is very far from perfect in this regard. But on these issues it is the best option on offer.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        I was poor and young student at Cambridge when Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979 (admittedly I was on a full grant). I and many other did not have much problem getting fairly rich – all you had to do was work hard and use a bit of common sense. Though the idiot John Major did half bankrupt me with his ERM fiasco 13-14 years later.

        It could have been far better still had Mrs Thatcher been rather more Thatcherite. She made many errors, John Major for example and failing to cut the state sector sufficiently or to get real freedom and choice in education, broadcasting and healthcare.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          And indeed to make others rich in the process.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        The old die off and do not take the money with them. The state pinches up to 40% off many of them to. Then wastes most of it.

    • Suffolk Lad
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Typical comment from a “London Centric” and “I’m alright Jack” constituant. Have ever travelled outside of the confines of the M25 to find out how “the other half” live and what their needs and aspirations are? So screw the North and Midlands and the rest of the country,eh?

    • JoolsB
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink


    • Stred
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      True. With 300,000 additional people every year and most heading for the South of England and interest rates kept artificially low to allow government deficits, house prices will never reduce. If you want proof look at the Nationwide house price index graph showing price rises in various parts of the UK and overlay it with the government graph showing the increase in population in the regions. The graph lines match exactly apart from a blip during the crash.

      • Hope
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Not sure where you get 300,000 from. 800,000 national insurance numbers issued in one year which appears to be a better figure than estimate survey figures the govt uses! Yes, estimates from surveys.

        These NI numbers are presumably people legally here. Add illegals and you can start to get the true picture each year.

        JR, to give context to your blog and its accuracy could you tell us the true immigration figure from all types of immigration and illegal immigration please. That is if you dare to be accurate.

    • zorro
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      The only thing Pfeffel is doing is levelling the country!!


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        +1 maybe his name was the clue?

    • Timaction
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      How about reducing the need for any of this and stop mass immigration of every kind! Allowing almost 7000,000 into our small overcrowded Island in the last 10 years alone leads to health, housing, education shortages and all public service provision and restriction. Introducing legislation to promote this whilst criminalising those who speak out against it has left the political class despised. Oh how badly we need reform of our system to support our wishes not opposed to them.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Funny I always think houses in the south are very reasonable and a vast array from which to choose. Hell there is a castle in Wiltshire for £2.9 at the moment.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        and a queue of young commuters hoping to buy it?

  2. SM
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I’ve said it many times over the past 30 years, and I’ll say it again: whatever happened to plain common sense? I don’t believe that the world should only do what I think is right, but please, have we really transformed into a malign sci-fi world where rational thinking is discarded and we must all be run by machines?

    Has everyone in the upper echelons of the Government and the Civil Service forgotten the simple maxim: ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ ?

    • Sir Patrick Vaccine
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      List of Greene King pubs at risk in Wokingham

      Two Poplars, 118 Finchampstead Road, Wokingham
      Three Frogs, London Road, Wokingham
      Loch Fyne, London Road, Wokingham
      The Greyhound, Longwater Road, Finchampstead
      Old Bell, Goring Lane, Grazeley Green
      Wee Waif, Old Bath Road, Charvil
      Ye Old Leathern Bottel, Barkham Road, Barkham

      Nice work Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson – help out to eat out then we’ll put you out of business

      • BW
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        I hope not. I am booked in at the Leathern Bottle for the wife’s Birthday in November !

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        A similar “curfew” has been brought in in many EU countries including Germany who have notably handled things much better than UK so it would be a bold UK government who did something different.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Don’t worry – most of the replacement population don’t touch alcohol – the govt are just preparing the country for them.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          And we will be accustomed to covering our faces and paying the taxes to keep them.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Oh, the sort of Leave voter Common Sense, that says that if you leave your fridge door open then it will cool down your kitchen.

      Yes, there’s plenty of that about – this government depend upon it, and they would not be in office without such shallow, lazy absence of real thought among the voters.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        No the sort of Leave voter common sense which says if you leave your front door open before you know it, it’s not your fridge – or your front door.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        You are making stuff up again Martin.

    • zorro
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Behold the hand of Dom Khuo Ming, Master Of All The Intelligences….


  3. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    This is more evidence that your party and your government has disdain for the people, the ordinary citizen, and that it is following the globalist policies beloved of your dangerous PM.

    He dislikes us, has no respect for us and is determined to suppress us. Housing, immigration, ‘green’, freedom of speech choice and assembly, all these subject are to be imposed or suppressed. He is an anti-democrat as are his supporters.

    • Sir Patrick Vaccine
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      The average daily Covid death rate in Sweden (worldometers) 7 day rolling average – 1 a day

      Anders Tegnell used common sense. The Prime Minister disgracefully describe it as “letting it rip”

      • Frances Truscott
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        We have 7 times Swedens population and about half of Swedes live alone.
        So no comparison whatsoever.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Wow, happy people all living alone.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Well there is some comparison – but clearly there are significant differences. Why do so many live alone?

          Germany is rather larger than the UK and has had about 10,000 deaths and just 9 today where the UK have about 70,000 (or 43,000 if take take the dubious government figures) and 87 death today. The NHS and healthcare in the UK is very poor.

        • zorro
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          There certainly is a comparison in Stockholm where most deaths have occurred.


        • Philip P.
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          No, Frances:
          ‘In 2017, 1.8 million people lived in Sweden alone, representing 17.8% of the population.’

          In Britain the figure is lower but not massively so. The vast majority in both countries don’t live alone, that’s not the key factor. Sweden has had no ‘second wave’ of Covid deaths because Anders Tegnell’s approach was the right one.

        • Fred H
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          and we consume about 25% more alcohol per head.

      • zorro
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Indeed, he has no explanation to counter their death toll. His stupidity in not properly managing this epidemic and treating us as functioning adults who would be aware of risks and manage accordingly is destroying this country. Frankly, he doesn’t give a damn and I hope that he gets what he deserves.


    • tubterrier
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink


      If nothing else comes out of this terrible moment in the history of this country is that the vetting and selection process for selection to becoming an MP is totally unfit for purpose.
      The parties and their central offices should surely be ensuring that all facets of life are covered by people who have an understanding, experience in the real business, military, health and energy arena.

      At the moment a good example is our woeful energy policies. The renewable energy save the world commitments are slowly but surely strangling the vision and progress for this country and especially the mind sets of the current politicians to think outside the box, that is if they are in the box in the first place.

      These policies have an enormous impact on housing in both the new build and renovation sectors. Time and time again on this blog respondents voice their thoughts and concerns about infrastructure and energy supplies to meet the predicted growth. Instead of prime photo call moments the ministers should be out there walking the talk and seeing and listening. A minister with experience in the competitive ,cutthroat and mercenary construction industry would see all the warning signs and concerns and could instruct their departments accordingly. All the main parties are guilty of their own incompetence in not accepting and delivering changes and a high standard of experienced politicians. But to be fair a lot of the above could just be levelled at the civil service directors, managers and staff.

      Change is far too long overdue. Make it happen.

    • acorn
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Fear not Prang, the sovereign HoC is riding to your rescue next Tuesday. The 10 PM curfew regulation debated and JR, I assume will vote against it. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020.

      Place your bets. Will the Brady Bunch win? What happens if they do? Can we celebrate our liberty with an all night piss-up and barbie? 😉

      • Fred H
        Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        presumably roadside mobile listeria sales are booming?

    • BOF
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink


  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    It is not simple – people will wnat to live where the jobs are, there are decent schools, pleasant suroundings, good concections, roads and transport, low crime rates etc. The government can do things to improve these factors in other areas but there is a danger in doing this as once the incentive are removed often the jobs more too.

    Having a national minimum wage and pay scales is rather damaging to poorer areas. These should be removed and market forces should apply. One of the main problems with buying is the absurdly high and evil turnover tax of up to 15% stamp duty.

    I bought (in London) a one bed flat, then moved to a two/three bed one, then a small house then a largish house which I then enlarged further. Stamp duty was 1% only over 30,000. Today to do this at current values I would have to pay the government perhaps £400K just in stamp duty. That £400K coming out of already taxed income so perhaps about £600K needed to be earned just to pay this SDLT tax bill.

    Now you have to spend perhaps £200K every time you buy and sell (perhaps more than you earn after tax in that year). This in stamp duty, agents fees valuation and legal fees and this is hugely damaging.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Nigel Lawson’s “economic miracle” consisted of replacing the confidence previously based on job security with that based on lax credit, secured against property prices inflating because of that very laxity.

      That hit the buffers some years ago, and Tory policy since has been to prevent the correction in property prices at all costs, literally e.g. with Help To Sell.

      Yes, all the parasites such as estate agents want their cut of those silly prices.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Job security was a casualty of globalism and mass immigration Marty

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        I have never been an estate agent but they are certainly not parasitic you dope! There job is to sell property to people most only get paid when they do. I, nearly always, found them very useful when buying or selling.

      • NickC
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Martin, Many UK jobs, particularly in manufacturing, were lost because of the mercantilism of China, and the mercantilism of Euro Germany. You know, the authoritarian China, and the authoritarian EU, which you so dearly admire.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Well it seemed to work in the north east. That was an unemployment hot spot in the 70s, but transformed in the 80s under Thatcher. The government encouraged jobs in those days with Regional Development Grants, BES and other things, rather than closing the place down like now. Residential development followed. OK we didn’t have the drag along effect of massive immigration, but at least it helped balance the north and south.

    • SM
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Does this algorithm take into account the need for not only more schools, but more medical facilities, more water supply, and more sewers if development is encouraged in already densely-packed areas?

      • Martyn G
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Of course not. Why should the government, the planners and developers care about such things? They don’t live in areas affected by lack of supporting infrastructure….

  5. Sir Patrick Vaccine
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    ANDREW PIERCE has the inside story on the rift between Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock

    In Matt Hancock’s world one Covid related death is ten times more serious than a hundred cancer deaths

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      In a tinder-dry forest, one smouldering cigarette end is far more serious than a dumpster fire in a back street on a wet afternoon.

      Your juxtaposition is inane.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        forget the recent creative writing course, and address the issues. Deflection is a pathetic response.

      • steve
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


        You assume people can afford cigarettes.

      • NickC
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Martin, Your analogy is inane. Covid19 has not been a killer (compared to other respiratory diseases) since mid-June. There has thus been no scientific reasons for the ongoing lockdown measures. When, or if, the death rate rises, then we should look at social measures – but they should be protection of the vulnerable rather than trashing the entire economy.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Sir Patrick Vaccine,

      It does not seem like a rift when it is reported that Mr Sunak aims to again fund labour immobility and increase the UK’s debt further. The rift is a pretence to con us into believing that there has been rational discussion based on rational data, rational calculations and ethical reflection. There has clearly been none of this, both Mr Hancock and Mr Sunak have failed and by implication so has the P.M.

      (If Mr Suank had wanted to communicate more clearly to Mr Hancock he could have noted that furlough alone was around a quarter of the usual annual health service budget and so that would be removed next year. Just this minor point may have aided Mr Hancock’s ability to process the enormity of his country wrecking actions.But Mr Sunak has simply funded the actions. Another approach to helping Mr Hancock to understand might be to remind him that bads (sugar, alcohol, tobacco) are taxed, if Mr Hancock views hospitality as a societal bad then a supporting Treasury should just tax it)

    • zorro
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      It’s criminal


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Not just criminal, cruel too. Surely a crime against Humanity?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. You could save far more lives now than Covid will cause – just by everyone over weight losing a stone or two. Perhaps 100 times more.

  6. I. Wragg
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Everywhere I look there are houses being built.
    Large swathes of pleasant land concreted over to supply housing for your imported clientele.
    There’s enough houses for the indigenous population. Stop allowing more in.

    • Andy
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      The largest driver of additional housing demand has always been natural population change – people living longer and more people living alone.

      50 years ago – the average marriage age was 25 for women, 27 for men. Now it is 35 for women, 38 for men. People are staying single for longer, they want to live alone for longer – and they need homes to do it in.

      Life expectancy is also key. In 1970 average life expectancy was 71. Now it is 81. A decade more. Those people living 10 years longer than expected have to go somewhere – and there are 9m over 70s.

      People coming here from other countries tend to be young. Many only come for a few years and they often live in shared homes or spare rooms. They have a negligible impact on housing.

      Meanwhile millions of old people are rattling around in 2 rooms of very large homes which they bought for £1000 in 1970. (It was a lot of money back then). The house is no longer suitable for them, it is far too big but they won’t do the right thing both for them and society by selling it to a young family who needs it. So you have loads of old people in massive homes which are too big for them, and loads of young families trapped in small apartments which are too small for them.

      If the Tories will not build homes for younger people – and they don’t and won’t- then eventually younger people will just revolt and take their share. We have all had enough of the baby boomers taking everything for themselves.

      • NickC
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Andy, It is (thank God!) not up to your authoritarian tendencies to decide what homes are suitable for other people to live in at the moment.

        Be careful what you wish for – it is not the current elderly who will have their homes stolen from them, it is middle aged people like you in the future – because that’s what you’re teaching your children.

    • margaret howard
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      I. Wragg

      Less than 10% of land in the UK is taken up by housing, some say as little as 3%. Fly over England and you see nothing but green acres occasionally dotted by small villages and towns. Even the cities are relatively scattered among the green acres

      Stop ‘investors’ , foreign or natives, buying up properties and then leaving them standing empty. Every city has high rise apartment blocks taken over by money grabbers.

      And like many others like it, my small town has few shop premises where the upstairs space is developed for flats. Young people in Europe love living in town centres and keep them alive and busy during evening and weekends rather than dead and deserted and full of drunks and trouble makers.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Absolute nonesense.
        The areas that are developed are besides natural transport links
        If you fly along the Thames estuary or down the Humber you will see unbroken development for miles and miles.

        Are you advocating that we concrete over all the festive land so we are less self sufficient in food.
        Do you suggest that we should build homes i in the Peak District national park or Snowdonia.
        You are a very silly woman with no cogent answers.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        That’s a very misleading statistic.
        You cannot build homes on beaches cliffs hills mountains lakes ponds roads paths forests farms and many more places.
        The UK is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

        • Fred H
          Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          maybe not but Wokingham builds on Floodplains.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 10, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            They have near me too.
            And the Council is blaming climate change when some have flooded.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        When we have to import 60% of our food suggests you are talking rubbish, you need at least 5 acres to support one person. England has a population of 56 million on 32 million acres, and when you strip out the infertile areas like the Pennines and Moors its a lot less. Worse we are having to build over the fertile river valleys in order to support the British states mad over population policy.

        • Fred H
          Posted October 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          ‘ you need at least 5 acres to support one person.’

          That is serious obesity…….perhaps you meant elephant?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        You plainly don’t know what you’re talking about. Overseas (mainly Hong Kong) investors own up to 50% of flats in new developments where I live and all of them are rented out – investors either “foreign or native” don’t leave them empty – why would they when they can get a rental income for them ? So given that fact what exactly are you complaining about ?

        Also, I see we signed a trade deal with Ukraine but you haven’t mentioned it despite years of asking why there weren’t any trade deals. Why ?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Less than 10% of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide – there is plenty of scope for more pollution.

        Your trite use of figures to indicate we are worrying for nought is superficial is it not Margaret.

        We do not have enough schools, doctors, floodplains nor infrastructure to support more building and more population who contribute little to the cost of accommodating them but make others rich.

      • NickC
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Margaret H, If a country cannot feed itself then it is overpopulated, by definition.

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Well said Sir

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      That of course is the problem that causes many of our problems. If the government insists on importing an EXTRA 300,000 people every year, we’ll never have enough houses, schools, hospitals, roads and anything else. How hard would it be to just stop doing it?

      • Timaction
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        A lot more than 300,000. Try between 650,000 and 850,000. The points based system they are introducing has no cap or limit so weep when you see the figures coming up. The politicos are not on the side of the English. Paying themselves £82000 plus expenses and subsidised cheaper pension contributions (rpi increases in retirement) for a part time unqualified job, they can afford private health and education, large properties away from the peasants and migrants they encourage.

  7. Adam
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    It sounds as if the Secretary of State for Housing’s brain cells are controlled by an algorithm that is levelling them down.

    Margaret Thatcher said that one must determine what is right and then do it. Too many of his are instead like Labour’s not working.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      She didn’t mean right for the corporate revolving doors of landed lords to house builders to politicians. She meant right for the population. These houses are neither wanted nor needed.

    • I. Wragg
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      The secretary of state for housing has few brain cells together with the publicly funded, final salaried brain dead advisors who want to lock us down again.
      I have been posting on here for almost a month that preparations for a second circuit break lockdown have been in place since early September.
      John never questions these assertions so he must know they are true.
      The government needs a second lockdown to reinforce the failure of the first.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately I happened to catch the end of Frankie Boyle’s New World order (before Newnight last night). What appalling, tedious, not remotely funny drivel it was.

    Why on earth are BBC licence payers forced to fund this totally unfunny, tedious and foul garbage?

    • Nigl
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Talking of garbage what has this to do with today’s topic. Once again you are using this as a vehicle for your obsessions.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Just stop watching, I have and it makes you happier. C4 don’t realise if people turn their biased news program off it stops them continuing to watch that channel for the whole night, we’ve now invested in Netflix and we have Amazon Prime we don’t need normal tv now.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink


      Regarding your final sentence, I would put Newsnight in the same category.

    • zorro
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I agree – it’s absolutely dire, unfunny, wokeist nonsense.


    • Mike Durrans
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Totally agree, don’t buy a TV licence, use you computer where you have choice

    • JohnK
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Mr Logic:

      They do it because the BBC is infested with leftists from top to bottom. They hate traditional British values and traditional British people with a passion. And Boris is too bloody idle to do anything about it.

      The BBC hate Conservatives, and have moved political discussion in this country well to the left. Why can’t the Conservatives grow a pair and do something about it? Defund the BBC and let it support itself by subscription and advertising. If Gary Lineker is really worth £1 million, and Zoe Ball £1.3 million, the market should decide. I know how much I think they are worth.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I am not a BBC licence payer so I cannot watch their output or any live TV. It is wonderfully liberating. I rarely hear the news, my mood is much lighter.

      • I. Wragg
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Mee too.

  9. Dave Andrews
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    The algorithm doesn’t work well from the point of view of levelling up, but how well does it work as a means of tax revenue? Surely that is the objective of government.
    Plenty of spare housing in estates scourged by “problem families”, just no one wants to buy there.

    • Nigl
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed there has to be massive capacity for restore/new build in regeneration areas but as you say no demand. HMG should be creating that demand in its re balancing strategy albeit who knows what that really means and will take too long.

      This so called algorithm is a way of fooling the public that it is a scientific approach, ha where have I heard that before?

      As said repeatedly the last time this topic came up, the Tories have much political capital invested in this so do not care where the houses are built as long as they can quote a big number and the wealthy SE is not going to turn red so votes not under threat.

      So ultimately they will bully Local Authorities and ignore local opinion to get their way. Taking us for fools yet again. Will Tory MPs vote it down. Of course not. More huff and puff.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Plenty of room in empty shops and offices, plenty of empty houses on the market already, plenty of landlords who would rent out but for punitive pro-tenant anti-landlord legislation. Plenty of hotel and air bnb rooms empty and earning nothing. Plenty of space if we discount those who shouldn’t have arrived here.
      It’s a false shortage.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        +1 – but the manic building spree and subsidising of new builds send lots of money into the building Corporates.
        They intended to ‘replace’ not only us but ‘second hand houses’ by reducing their value so we gave another lifetime of work for a roof over our heads.
        Unfortunately for the elitists, the new houses are ‘world beating’ in the same way that Track and Trace is.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      ” Tax revenue – Surely that is the objective of government” it often is alas but should never be (that and fining and over regulating them). The maximum good for the maximum number of people would be a far better objective.

      Governments spend money far less efficiently than individuals or businesses spending their own hard earned money. Much of govenment spending does positive harm. They need to confine themselves to the very few things that governments can do better. Alas they never do.

      Milton Friedman on the four ways you can spend money

      1. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.
      2. You can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.
      3. I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!
      4. I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.

      The last one is largely how government spend & waste it! HS2 and subsidies for expensive unreliable energy and other green crap for good examples!

    • Ricardo
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Sir John’s proposals seem right to me. The Covid response measures have changed everything. A Conservative government has intervened in the economy on a scale never imagined before in any Socialist’s wildest dreams. Now, to mitigate the damage it caused, it has to pay for that by a programme of rebuilding the economy, which the PM was recently trying to set out. That gives it the opportunity to guide recovery, along lines that do not wreck the lived environment in areas such as ours. Parts of this constituency have already seen unacceptable overdevelopment that the local community can scarcely cope with. To avoid completely overloading our infrastructure and amenities right across Wokingham, a different policy line has to be taken, rather than imposing this disastrous algorithm. I hope these sensible proposals will be listened to and followed by the relevant decision-makers.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Nimbyism dressed up as concern. You have to create the jobs before people will move.

  11. miami.mode
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    We design our surroundings and they then determine how we live our lives e.g. in London MPs face each other but in Brussels they sit in a circular arrangement.

    Since Margaret Thatcher’s time MPs have concentrated power and resources in London and the South East and now it has come back to bite them in the proverbial.

    Don’t blame the algorithm, it’s how you designed it.

  12. BeebTax
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Our host’s position sounds like NIMBY, under the guise of reasoned arguments. Surely we need housing where jobs are? And that does not tend to be places where house prices are low.

    • miami.mode
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      BT, your comment is far too obvious and factual for many MPs to understand.

  13. Andy
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately our dear leader – Dominic Cummings – has decided where homes will be built and many of them are going in the south east.

    It is unwise for anyone to question the dear leader’s algorithm because the dear leader known a better than anyone else.

    The dear leader has proven so successful at everything he has done that the dear leader thinks it inappropriate that mere people question the dear leader’s plan.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Could you organise for Dom Cummings to be our real dear leader please? Such an improvement, we would not know ourselves.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      The usual NIMBY reaction. Check your privilege Andy.

    • steve
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink


      Interesting that you should compare the two Dear Leaders, the difference being ours hasn’t got any hair.

    • NickC
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Andy, I have never liked Dominic Cummings (obviously not at a personal level – I’ve never met him). That’s because, like you, he has a high opinion of his own righteousness.

  14. Fred H
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    This Government and possibly the previous ones, is no longer interested in public opinion. It has a global, green, dictatorial agenda and has found re-election of the party to be easy.
    Until the electorate wakes up from the slow boil of the frog in the pan – your fate is in the hands of smiling, serious pretence at being wise and scientific.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    The algorithm will almost certainly be flawed if not outright wrong and misleading. House prices reflect demand and supply. The issue is no one actually knows what that will be in the future. For example, if fewer and fewer people go to work in offices that will have a fundamental impact on demand for housing with good commuter links to London. Already apartment sales have slowed where I live, which has a fast link to London. This partly reflects a reluctance to be cooped up under C-19 inspired social restrictions but also, I suspect, doubts about the future need to be so close to a railway station. Dispersal, not concentration around railway stations, seems a more sensible approach.

  16. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    “The first is planning solutions should allow local communities and their Councils to shape the built landscape they live in and preside over”

    Is there any local community anywhere in UK that wants more houses built in its midst ? If people want to live in Wokingham then why shouldn’t more houses be built there ? Telling them they can’t and to buy in Hartlepool instead is more akin to Communism than free-market Conservatism., and it is also levelling-down.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      if they want to live in Wokingham then offer enough cash to get someone to sell.

  17. Iain Moore
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    They have decided its easier to build over England than restrict immigration and the algorithm is there to help them do that, you don’t have to make much of an argument when some computer coding is churning out instructions.

  18. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    We were told new housing was for local people but was nothing of the sort.

    A huge influx of new people including many problem families and this after the police were cut back because it was such a safe area to live in.

    No infrastructure, no extra services, no jobs (far worse now) no care for the local environment… all under Tory governance.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      We can’t even identify British people never mind local people – I suppose in the globalist mind local people are those that live on the earth as opposed to all the rest?

  19. Bryan Harris
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    It ought to be clear that we need more entry level homes, not expensive ones.

    Why is it always the south that gets more housing squashed in?

    Most of Scotland is empty FGS – It could badly do with more new towns.

    Even the North-west is in need of good new housing stock.

    It is clear though that the hosing minister should sack his advisers, as well as Boris should – They are leading him down a dark alley.

  20. Andy
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    PS: perhaps you could put homes on the ten sites we now know the Tories are building Brexit lorry parks. Four of them in Kent. One quite close to Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency in Essex. Shame, he deserved one of this own.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      How could we build homes in a lorry park being used by lorries ? What on earth are you on about ?

    • NickC
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Andy, Shouldn’t you be using your obvious talent for whining to whine at the EU which (you seem to think) will prevent UK lorries transporting EU ordered goods to the EU?

  21. George Brooks.
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Algorithms are interesting but we are getting very lazy by relying on them. It seems we accept the results as gospel and therefore must be followed. Let the market forces of industry and commerce decide where they want to be located and then follow up with road, rail and port communication.

    Override council ‘nimbys’, stop preserving streets of old unsuitable housing, convert and develop ‘Brown field sites’ so that industry can attract the workforce it needs and whole towns and districts can be revived.

    Streamline house buying and selling which is drawn out and complicated and a huge waste of time. In the US you can do it in a week with one visit to the legal advisor.

    Encourage market forces to prevail and government spend it’s time making it easier for us to move and we will start levelling up.

  22. Annette
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    We currently have Govt by algorithm & what a disastrous mess it is.
    We’ve seen the appalling effects of Ferguson’s algorithms in the past, costing bns to the economy & devastation to livestock, which are now costing human lives as well as deliberate destruction of the economy.
    Now it’s housing. It’s also being used to determine whether you warrant medical help in hospital or are classified as DNR & ‘possibly’ just made ‘comfortable’ to die alone with no visitors (no witnesses).
    Doing the same thing (with the same usual suspects) expecting a different result is the definition of madness.

    The insistence on continuing using algorithms for the ‘big’ decisions
    (including law by diktat), to the exclusion of real evidence or application of common sense is appalling. It becomes clearer every day that the Govt is not running the country. Like ‘science’ or ‘medicine’, these should only be to advise what are ultimately political decisions which have to balance a multitude of competing benefits & costs for each decision. This latter part seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it the results of 47 years EU membership being told what to impose, or the lack of real world experience in our ‘career’ politicians, but there is no purpose to having politicians who only tick boxes & are there to create the illusion of democracy.

    Regardless of ‘algorithm’ or even the evolving sinister imposition of control & totalitarianism, two things will always determine things in reality. Supply & demand.
    As to our atrocious robotnik Govt & (majority of) Parliament, & Govt by modelling/AI/algorithm, the “people” say “NO”.

  23. Alan Jutson
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Just face it John, the Conservative Government has lost the plot on too many projects now.

    I would say perhaps they need to get back to basics, but I have the feeling they do not have a clue what the basics are.
    Indeed our whole political and Local Government system and the way it works, is not working for the people, and the so called opposition or alternative parties are even worse.

    Perhaps our problems have been caused by just allowing the Eu to make all the rules for the past 45 years, because the majority of our politicians seem to have forgotten how to think for themselves, or plan anything properly, and the civil service seem to be allowed to do as they feel fit.

    Someone needs to get a grip fast, because after December 31st you will have no one else to blame but yourselves.

    • steve
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson

      “I would say perhaps they need to get back to basics”

      No point, they’re getting kicked out by next GE if not before, and they know it.

  24. Jess
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Arguing about planning policy when we have a government committed to destroying what is left of our economy with endless snap lockdowns, mask wearing and curfews is utterly pointless. Unless this is ended there will not be any new builds. There will not be food to eat let alone council meetings to decide how many new homes they’re going to be bribed to allow.

  25. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Every town and village near to where I live in Wiltshire now has a huge development on its outskirts, often called “something Farm” in an unconscious act of irony!
    I see that in today’s Telegraph we’re now truly lost because we’re going to be forced into signing the Paris Accord on Climate Change.

    Things aren’t looking good, Boris Johnson is totally out of his depth, my MP no longer
    replies to my emails because I speak my mind and he obviously doesn’t like it, from the manager of Lidl’s to MP….. nice little earner!

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink


    • Fred H
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      very often it is Lark Rise, Nightingale Close, Badger Sett, Lakeside… the middle of a concrete and tarmac environment as if it was an ex-airport.

  26. Wil Pretty
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Algorithms are great for policymakers because you do not have to show your assumptions, and the general public thinks they are science.

  27. BJC
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    A Conservative government used to pride itself on providing the fundamental framework that allowed the markets to decide the rest……no longer.

    How much immigration has government policy allowed? How many children will they and their future generations have? There’s your real problem. Sort out immigration to reduce the unsustainable demand for housing in the first place and we could draw a collective breath and believe the government is again on our side. Meanwhile, developers are still landbanking and producing one house per (say) 500+ people coming here and new housing is hoovered up by landlords, keeping prices high.

  28. Pat
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Since the cost.of building housing to a given specification is the same everywhere, the only factor making housing dearer in one area than another is demand. It seems to me.That building houses where people want to live is indeed the best approach.
    Politically difficult of course, existing homeowners will see their valuations fall as supply rises to meet demand, but it allows more people to have their housing desires met.

  29. ukretired123
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well said SJR and Madame May next door mentioned concreting over her constituency by this proposal. Meanwhile the Northern lockdown are reinforcing the North South divide.

    • ukretired123
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Errata Is reinforcing the North South divide.

  30. agricola
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The determinant of where people live is governed by where they work. Pre the industrial revolution they mostly worked on the land so they lived adjacent that land. At the moment people will not move to low cost housing areas because there is no work there for them. People wish to live in Wokingham because they can commute to their work in mostly London by train or car. They have no desire to live closer because they shun the low end multicultural society much loved by politicians or they find it too expensive. Once working from home becomes an accepted norm their location choices are increased.

    Government has it in its hands to make the low cost areas more desirable by moving government activity to them and creating freeports/airports in such areas. The only people who have a free choice as to where they live are wealthy pensioners. If you put an end to mass immigration and work on the education and assimilation of the existing multicultural society you stand half a chance of making them British. Many have done this for themselves and become very acceptable anywhere. Sadly many choose not to and continue in dress and behaviour not to integrate so drawing negative attention to themselves.

    No algorithm is going to provide answers to the housing situation, it is far too complex a question with too many inputs that in themselves change. If algorithms were the answer there would be no such thing as divorce or even marriage for that matter. Best leave where people live to the market with incentives and restraints thrown in by government.

    • agricola
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      As ever the issues frighten you off. Pretending they do not exist solves nothing.

  31. Old person
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    If the law of supply and demand is to be satisfied by ignoring common sense, it can only lead to disaster.

    In the hamlet of Twigworth (outside Gloucester) of about 200 properties, 535 houses are being built on green belt land on a flood plain next to a gated retirement community. These houses will be packed close together to maximise profit and also maximise the impervious footprint.

    Laurence Robertson, the MP for the Tewkesbury constituency, is visiting Twigworth today for a discussion with concerned residents.

    One can only ask, “where is all the water going?”.

  32. a-tracy
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    “The third is the promotion of homeownership, which is going to be easier to do in parts of the country with lower house prices”

    Why do you think the house prices lower? I think it is because there are fewer high paying jobs, other than those in the public sector wage matched to wealthy regions. Schools are failing you sorted out London schools with massive subsidies ‘pupil premium’ we were told that was paid for by your new student tuition fees rise in 2008 creating a graduate tax of 9% – except Scotland and Wales got the pupil premium without Student tuition fees. Compare Liverpool and Stoke with London schools. The few pupils that escape into decent Universities get out of those Cities and a high percentage of them don’t go back.

  33. a-tracy
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Our local Council gives permission to build all the executive houses in big new estates in all the exclusive little enclaves. Towns with the highest % of social housing get all the ‘affordable housing’ the rabbit box estates next door to the tip and bin wagon store that stinks. They get ripped off with leasehold instead of freehold robbing them blind a year or so after they move in. That’s what local Councils actually do. Give me a rest.

  34. IanT
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Wokingham is being transformed and not for the better. Driving recently on the north side of town, I was for a moment completely lost. New roundabouts and building in what was not so long ago green fields can momentarily confuse. Building is about to start to the south of the town. There are not “cheap” houses either – as in “affordable” a much mis-used word these days, although frankly many are just expensive boxes crammed next to one another.

    We hear much about Work From Home these days and the impact on city centres. Are we really sure we know where demand actually is (or will be)?

  35. Iain Gill
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    There is a lot wrong with that analysis.

    For one we have a whole political class that fights to reduce house building in their own areas, yet happily endorses high levels of immigration (even when they talk tough when in power they keep the immigration floodgates open). That in itself is a serious double standard.

    Then we have the reality of where the jobs are, the jobs are often rippling out from airports as foreign investors land at an airport and want somewhere to setup a taxi ride away from there. Hence a lot of the tech sector being close to Heathrow and along the M4.

    In social housing we are already keeping large amounts of housing going in areas of the country where THERE ARE SIMPLY NO JOBS. It is pointless in the exteme to build new private sector housing in areas with no jobs. How big a pool of people do you want to live in areas with no jobs market within travelling distance?

    Then we have the manipulation of the state, access to the best schools, GP’s, hospitals is all done on postcode, pushing demand where these services are better higher. It doesnt matter what an algorithm says if all the local schools are rubbish nobody is going to want to buy a house there. The whole way the state allocates and rations services on postcode needs to change.

    You do not “level up” by forcing people to live in areas with no jobs. You do not attract employers by building housing. You need to look at the factors of why certain businesses prefer certain areas, and try to replicate some of that in other areas so that jobs become viable there. Then the demand for housing will appear, and house building will make sense.

    So a lack of a joined up set of polices based on some fundamental beliefs is missing. My own view is you need to start with 1 more power to the individual across all of this 2 stop state allocation & rationing the way it is currently done 3 replicate some of the reasons employers like certain areas in other areas.

  36. Sharon
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink


    In a big boost to the anti-lockdown movement, one of President Donald Trump’s key advisers on coronavirus, Professor Scott Atlas, tweeted yesterday that Trump’s policies align with the anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration.

    The federal system in America means most public health policy sits with the states and lower tiers of government so Trump is limited in what he can change. Nonetheless, to have the leader of the free world, according to one of his closest advisers, standing with anti-lockdown science and policymaking can only help to turn things around.

  37. ChrisS
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    This is a difficult problem but the approach outlined above does appear to be flawed.
    Firstly what are the objectives ?

    Primarily more housing units overall to satisfy population growth and renew the housing stock as it ages.

    These needs should be divided into several categories, each of which needs a different assessment, but this must be done by planning departments overseen by our democratic representatives, not by an algorithm. That is crazy.

    1. More starter homes that are more affordable for young people to buy. (Once on the housing ladder, they are more likely to vote Conservative).

    2. More starter homes in the social housing sector built by Housing Associations for those unable to buy. I would NOT build any more council estates as they end up being stigmatised gettos. One of Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievements was to transform Council Estates into nice places to live. People are now happy to buy and move into former council houses. This would have been unthinkable in the 1970s.

    3. More larger midrange homes for home movers in areas where these are in short supply which drives up prices.

    Building houses where the demand is greatest does not change the categories above.
    An element of social engineering is justified, building in places where the economy is suffering and jobs are needed. Areas within commuting distance of the proposed Freeports, for example ?

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      What % do you think each estate should have i.e.
      Housing association (no more than 15%/20%)
      Affordable homes (30% less?)

      Every estate where to total value of the homes sold amount to, how much £?

  38. Ed M
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    ‘ The first is planning solutions should allow local communities and their Councils to shape the built landscape they live in and preside over.’

    – Really? All over the country, over the last few decades, relatively uneducated people in local communities and Councils with poor understanding of architecture, arts and business have, from one degree to another, ruined our cities, towns and villages.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink


  39. Lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Also do not blame the algorithm that is just a programme, a tool doing exactly what managers/bosses/programmers asked it to do.

    The blame, where any is due, lies entirerly with these people – they selected and honed the tool and should have designed it properly.

  40. RichardP
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I totally agree.
    This Government should by now be fully aware of the shortcomings of ‘algorithms’.
    Now would be a good opportunity to try common sense and genuine local consultation rather than just dumping thousands of houses on communities using another flawed computer program.

  41. ChrisS
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    One aspect of the house building industry needs addressing :

    Currently the overwhelming number of new homes are built by large developers using building techniques that are questionable rather than traditional materials and bussed-in labour. The results are houses built down to the lowest possible price with distant developers taking all the profit out of the area.

    In other countries, plots are bought by the prospective residents who have an individual house designed and built by predominantly small local architects and contractors and even some self-build. This is very good for the local economy as the profits stay local. You also get a more interesting and varied design of houses rather than a boring estate of near-identical housing units.

    Local planning departments should insist on a substantial number of plots on any area zoned for housing to be sold to small builders and individuals. This would be particularly helpful in areas in need of new jobs and businesses

  42. glen cullen
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    This past week has been like living in an episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo with interludes of Yes Minister

  43. wab
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Maybe Tory MPs should not have put a charlatan and his mediocre sycophants in charge of the country. Also, follow the money.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink


    • hefner
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Not quite, the Tory MPs gave us the choice between J.Hunt and B.Johnson. Two thirds of the Conservative members either wanted to have a laugh with Johnson or were wetting their ‘petites culottes’ for him. Then there was a General Election that confirms the choice.
      So all people who at different stages directly or indirectly voted for ABdPJ bear a responsibility.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        I awoke from a bit of a laugh to a full blown nightmare.

      • NickC
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Hefner, You might recall that I said Boris was only the best of a bad bunch. But have a word with Andy who thinks the PM is Cummings.

  44. graham1946
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The algorithm is bad, so is the policy. This is no accident, this looks like a favour to the big builders to make more profit. I notice you mention Sec of State etc. but without naming him. He has form in this area and I do not trust a word he says nor any policy which he has anything to do with. He should have been sacked at the last instance of his unlawful meddling. He has no credibility, and this government which I voted for is fast running out of credibility road.

    We do not need algorithms, but sensible human decisions that take into account more than just big corporate profits but which firstly take into account the needs of the paying public. Something which politicians treat with disdain, especially as they are now copping another 3 grand to top up their salaries and gold plated pensions, whilst considering removing the triple lock on pensions from some of the poorest in the land. Don’t ask me to vote Conservative again which I have done for most of my life, except for one time in 1997 but Blair cured me of that.

  45. graham1946
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    O/T but I think it important you know. I have been trying for the last month to get a flu jab. This morning, my pharmacist tells me there is no vaccine available at the moment even at the local doctors and no pharmacies locally have any, and this one may not get any at all, except Tesco who have a 3 week wait. I thought it was Covid we are waiting for a vaccine for, not the usual flu. First time I have ever come across this. Can your government organise anything without a cock up?

    • zorro
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Clearly not


  46. Everhopeful
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I hear that even Mrs May ( who successfully resisted housebuilding in Sonning) is now a tad worried by Boris’ concrete frenzy.
    Don’t the Tories know where their core support lies? ( Mind you maybe elections will be scrubbed).
    Don’t they know that people don’t want “megacities”?
    Boris so diligent in applying UN policies!

  47. MikeP
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I fear the construction industry is the tail wagging the dog. Why build 20 small 1-2 bedroom homes when you could squeeze in 12-15 poky executive detached homes? Shouldn’t the “algorithm” bounce planning applications that allow this to continue?
    I note that a developer is still trying to push a development on Finchampstead Rd, I think we’re on their 4th attempt after being roundly rejected by Wokingham locals who’ve frankly had more than enough of utility company roadworks and traffic congestion.

  48. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Wokingham and its environs is now one awful urban sprawl. As the MP for many years I assume you take some of the responsibility for this.

    For many years areas like Woodley and Earley have been covered with massive estates providing homes for Londoners fleeing areas of London they no longer felt at home in. In more recent years Wokingham has expanded massively as has Bracknell into Warfield.

    Drive out of Wokingham along the London Road to Bracknell and every bit of land has been built on. Well done, Wokingham and Bracknell are now connected. The creep South towards and beyond the railway is already planned. Any spare land between the town and Gowrings will soon be built on. Then Sandmartins. How can a golf course be allowed to stay as an oasis in a desert of bricks!

    And local and national politicians don’t give a toss what local people think.

    I was driven out of London 35 years ago. I was driven out of Wokingham to Dorset last year. I now live in a pleasant, quiet area where I feel safe and people are friendly. There is lots of greenery and not too much traffic. As working from home grows, expect a mass exodus from the places politicians have ruined.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Wokingham: bringing you tomorrows slums today.

      A shabby quality of life with no room to breathe. As you rightly point out Wokingham at one end is the shabby suburb of Bracknell. Although you didn’t say it the other end is the down market side of Reading. How many that live in Lower Early see a connection to Wokingham when all roads lead to the motorway or Reading.

      No infrastructure, no future. Traffic Lights and Roundabouts are not infrastructure improvements thee are just a means of spreading pollution around.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Planning thinking: – it is easier to spread the massive traffic over 20 roundabouts/traffic light measures than have a 3 miles traffic jam.

    • NickC
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Mike W, We have to stop all immigration for two decades to allow this country to recover. That would mean a net outflow as some people continue to leave. House prices will go down, no new estates need be built, and some of the slums can be cleared.

  49. ian
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    When the people that count want England to be the biggest populated country in Europe and of course they and the gov want maxim profits, so they build in and around the M25 or in places like Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, there no money in building houses in the north of England, the money is made getting planning permission and not in building houses, land portfolio of a building company is its share price and value and the fewer houses they build the land prices increase, that’s just a fact of life that no house building company would allow the land portfolio in expensive areas to be depleted without being able to replace it, why do you think the companies are now leasing the building at five thousand pounds a year and retaining the land.

  50. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Just seen MPs are to get a £3300 rise – – While the people at the bottom lose their jobs, their houses etc etc – – AND have to pay for the flood of non-working replacements you are deliberately importing. Still no connection to the world you create for the rest of us is there?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      You can’t think that in the world they have created they would not take the biggest share of the cake?

  51. Everhopeful
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t you politicians just leave us all alone?
    Haven’t you done enough harm?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I see that they have.
      They have handed decision making over to algorithms.
      So we have a flu turned into bubonic plague and housing carpeting areas where the machine “thinks” most people want to live!
      Great! Working very well isn’t it!
      The UN seems pretty keen on algorithm-based policy making too.

      “In some ways we’ve lost agency. When programs pass into code and code passes into algorithms and then algorithms start to create new algorithms, it gets farther and farther from human agency. Software is released into a code universe which no one can fully understand.” Ellen Ullman

    • steve
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink


      Because we’re stupid enough to vote for them.

      I sometimes wonder what would happen if everyone in the UK simply boycotted a general election.

      Might put Her Majesty in an awkward position, but with zero votes how could a government be formed ?

  52. BOF
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Many more houses could be available were it not for the wanton attacks on the traditional families over many years.

    Add to that the population explosion from 20 years of mass migration.

    • steve
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink


      We don’t need more houses, just less people.

  53. XYXY
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Is it really that way?

    Governments don’t build house, building companies and individuals employing builders do that.

    You can “empower” planning decisions, but you still need to have the land to build on and a reason for people to move there (jobs, retirement etc).

    The question policymakers should be asking themselves is “What needs to happen for people to want to move to (say) Newcastle?”.

    Then ask: “Do people really need to move at all?”. What if their partner is in work and their kids doing GCSEs? They want to be empowered to work further from home (or from home) by allowing all workers to have the cost of supplying their labour to be a tax-deductible expense, just as it is for employees of , say, a consultancy firm.

    Then people are choosing where to live based on their liking for the area (and potentially, for its low house prices), or possibly to reunite with their family, rather than because they need to move for work reasons.

    This is a better future than the one we’ve experienced for decades where people are constantly uprooting their family life for work reasons. Home working can help avoid that.

  54. rose
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Another Bad Appointment.

    Just when we thought the tide was turning on Conservative governments making left wing appointments, we get this Guardian/BBC.ITV Woman, married to Throughly Unsound Spectator Man. She has been spinning the Chancellor out of his former Wykehamist Thatcherite self into a Miliband.

    Why couldn’t they have had Alex Deane, a barrister, a Conservative Unionist, a former adviser and a PR expert. And intelligent and sensible. What more could they have wanted?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      It is odd, she is expected to be at the heart of Government to understand their thinking in order to field question fro the press and media, and here she is a fully paid up Guardianista , either she will be a liability, or Boriss team is more left wing than I thought ,

      I addition it is another Government post that goes to a lefty , it adds to their grip on the establishment, when I thought they were trying to do the opposite,.

    • DOM
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      When will the electorate wake up and realise that both main parties died decades ago. Today, they abuse the idea that they are the anti-thesis of one another when in practice they are precisely the same with identical agendas, the protection of the two party status quo at all costs even to the point of smashing freedom of expression to destroy public debate and dismantling the very fabric of our world using racially infused, fascist ideology imported from the US.

      Human welfare replaced by politicisation of the soul and mind

      This nightmare won’t end until both abhorrent, bigoted parties are substantially weakened to the point of being neutered

      We have become the enemy

  55. XYXY
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh and – all these offices that are about to become empty… re-purpose as homes?

    With physical retail unlikely to make a comeback in towns and cities, office space requirements plummeting… what else can we do with them?

    With all that building space in the “unknown” category, we should really wait and see the post-covid world before we rush to build yet more stuff on England’s formerly green and pleasant land.

  56. DavidJ
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    A rogue algorithm indeed. Maybe government should try applying some common sense for a change and ignoring the out of touch people who produce such algorithms.

  57. Sir Patrick Vaccine
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    See the UK Human Rights blog where in August –
    Face masks in Strasbourg were deemed to be against your human rights – under the right to respect for private life and a “freedom of physical appearance” the judge found there was no compelling reason to justify the mayor’s decree obliging citizens to wear a mask.

  58. forthurst
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    There are builders that specialise in building large houses with large gardens
    in the SE. This should be discouraged otherwise there will be no farmland and urban green left.

    I have read complaints from businessmen that they can’t find suitable properties which accord with their status and aspirations in the North. There are also other issues such as the availability of good schools where local authorities offer nothing but comps and there is a dearth of private schools other than ‘religious’. Perhaps the government should allow the building of grammar schools against their own policies and those of local councils.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Where do you read businessmen can’t find suitable property in the North?

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Forhurst I don’t think it is the buildings up North that is the problem, there are many, many gorgeous homes. It is the lack of networking, the poor quality local entertainment, the lack of senior job opportunities with executive pay, there are also many private schools should that be their choice. There are also good pockets of schools but those areas carry a very high house price premium almost as high as the South East. Just tell them to look where all the footballers live!

  59. Mark
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    With the radical economic realignment that we are seeing in response to the virus I would have thought it was self evident that any previous plans need to be torn up completely. We should be thinking only about how to reduce red tape and regulation in ways that promote economic growth, and how to ensure that we build the necessary supporting infrastructure, rather than trying to clot our towns with bike lanes and make our energy supply unreliable and expensive.

    Bluster is no solution.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      The obsession with bike lanes in London is bizarre. Do you know what percentage of road deaths in London were of cyclists ? 4%. Why do we need to protect them even more ? Pedestrians made up over 50% of the deaths – so as a start we could prosecute cyclists for riding on the pavement and ignoring red lights are pedestrian crossings.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 10, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        ‘prosecute cyclists for riding on the pavement and ignoring red lights’.

        good luck with that.

  60. Lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    15% stamp duty is help to sell is it?

  61. Lifelogic
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Indeed but it can be funnier – especially of they have their Alibi Brown or Polly Toynbee type of dopes on!

  62. Caterpillar
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Presumably sufficient houses need to be built in expensive areas such that prices are brought down (supply outstripping demand). Whilst house build is reduced in cheaper areas such that demand outstrips supply, moving house prices upwards. This then acts to level up wealth held in the distorted property market.

    The Say’s Law type argument supply creating demand, may work in some areas e.g. Wokingham’s geographical position means that other attractants are available. In other areas the building may not be sufficient.

    Generally, I still prefer a large shift to connected, innovative, vertical cities, which probably requires a high quality rental model to best use the local constrained land supply. Generation rent should be seen as heroes, whilst generation owner occupy should not. Much use of value laden language needs to change.

  63. John O'Leary
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    With houses being built all over pristine countryside at a rate I have never seen in my 57 years of adult existence we will have none left if this continues. HS2 is also a major despoiler of landscape. Please can we just stop immigration, slow down house building and scrap HS2 so that we can continue to enjoy what remains of our fabulous countryside and breadbasket?

  64. Original Chris
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Yet again, the government under Johnson seem to have proved themselves to be just plain stupid. The problem is that the consequences for the people of this country are disastrous. I cannot see how you are going to be voted in again. The trouble is you have plenty of time to continue to wreak havoc with this country and its people before the next election.

  65. steve
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Algorithms are no replacement for common sense.

    Trust nothing that has been created by snowflake generation geeks.

  66. glen cullen
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Its being reported that the final capitulation (EU Deal) is 99.9% settled

    • Fred H
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      must be, else the EU monsters would be whingeing…..

  67. Simon Coleman
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic but surely this is something to bring up? What is this decriminalization of crimes bill – or whatever it is – all about? It will, apparently, allow the police and gov’t agencies to break the law without having to face prosecution. Why do we need it? Should we be worried about it? I know the answer to the second question, so how about the first?

  68. Fred H
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    The PM is to make a statement to MPs on Monday giving details of new restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus in England. A letter from Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser to MPs in the north-west of England seen by the BBC states “it is very likely that certain local areas will face further restrictions”.
    A three-tier system will see areas face differing rules based on case severity.

    I’m guessing that Tier 1 will be no adult is allowed to leave their home for 14 days, but children under 17 can – but only to gather in large groups not exceeding 50 and refrain from kissing each other.
    Tier 2 will be adults will be allowed to exercise in their own garden – but not beyond a patio, should they have one – and not within the next 7 days. Children under 11 can attend school, should the Head Teacher allow, but for only 2 days per week, no spoken lessons and strictly no shared lunchboxes.
    Tier 3 will be adults are expected to work, ride buses and trains wearing full hazmat suits, no conversations with others, and will use sanitisers before boarding, and at every sanitiser unit proved on their route onwards. Car journeys to be authorised by the County PCC. Children will study the ancient greek gods, by downloads made available from Downing St and prepare for written examinations in 2023.
    Tier 4 will mean there was an Excel compute error.

    • glen cullen
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      I believe that he’s also going to tell the childred that ‘Santa’ is dead this year

      And tell the christians that Jesus birthday party is cancelled

      And people thought that only Labour hated the Tory – give it a week and everyone will

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      I dont think this next lockdown is about stopping children and teenagers mixing, their thoughts and comments can be easily controlled.
      It seems more about stopping adults freely socialising, mixing and talking to each other. They put in place controls over social media first, then put what they thought was a cut on numbers mixing of six but too many adults are breaching this and still meeting in pubs in bigger numbers so I wonder what’s coming next that they don’t want people discussing down the local.

  69. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 10, 2020 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    If you want to get house prices down, then put a tourniquet on immigration and raise interest rates. It’s such a statement of the bleeding obvious that I am surprised at having to repeat it so often.

  70. Sea_Warrior
    Posted October 10, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Good article. But may I suggest, Sir John, that you and every other Conservative MP makes a point of finding the highest point in their constituency, going there, and then – take in a panoramic view. They will come away thinking one of two things: that we have a green and pleasant land that deserves our careful protection; or that they can see more than enough buildings already.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      they will think – ‘damn should have bought shares in roof tiles and concrete’.

  71. Philip Cunnington
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Wholeheartedly agree with the issues Sir John has raised.

    I would like to add landbanking to the mix. Landbanking by large developers means there are almost 1m planning approvals that need to be built out. They alone would meet the national target for the next 4 years without any further approvals! 🤔

    If the large developers, who have a stranglehold on planning, don’t build to planning approvals after a short time, they should be charged council tax or another charge on the unbuilt properties to make them either piss or get off the pot.

  • 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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