This week I had an interesting conversation on the Next Door forum which is a social media platform that’s primarily based around areas in the UK, local towns and villages. It has a good feel to it, not many trolls. However I have managed to find one.
The woman concerned Irene Wakeham, had been sharing some articles asking people to oppose a housing development to the west of Ifield which is close to Crawley, here in the UK.
Development of this kind is a big issue across the UK, but there are some 10000 houses planned and will create several kinds of pressure on the local infrastructure which will obviously need to be worked out.
Irene of course was saying that the development shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead because of [insert reason here] none of which had been either well-thought-out or made any sense.
I agree in part we need to try and preserve areas of green belt or green field spaces because as a species we need the greenery. From a mental health perspective, getting out into the open countryside is a good thing.
This parcel of land which Horsham District council wants to build on is incredibly blighted because of the traffic from Gatwick airport as is much of Crawley, indeed big chunks of the southeast are also blighted by something. And at the end of the day housing needs to go somewhere. The Parish of Ifield has been around since the Domesday Book – and has so far escaped much development and as I say, is far from pristine green fields or an SSi.
The problem we have is in several areas.
No one wants the development. Everyone wants their bit of space preserved.
Most people campaign against the building at new homes normally own their own homes and don’t want the change. These are people that have already benefited from building on greenbelt land, indeed that’s how their houses got there.
These are the same people that were happy for their houses to be built but don’t want others to be built there. This is the same all over the country. Local opposition to development just makes development even harder.
But we have several problems.
Economic policy focuses on continued growth in the economy. This means a growing population. With the growing population there is more pressure on housing. Hence the stupid increases in house prices in the last few decades. Quite simply if you are not building enough then the price of that thing increases because of demand.
There are also the issues of business development and other economic changes which will have an affect on how much housing is needed in a particular area. Here in the south east we have quite a lot of business therefore quite a lot of housing is needed for the people to work in those businesses.
Then we have the MPs and local politicians getting involved with the situations and either opposing or being for this kind of development. The evidence particularly with this conservative government is they say one thing nationally let’s build, let’s develop and locally they say all no that’s not a good idea.
The hypocrisy is just shocking. They want to focus on getting re-elected so will say whenever they think the local people want them to say. Few actually defend what is right.
Few actually want things progressed.
There is also the issue of tax breaks on residential property where it is currently held at an unlimited amount of tax-free growth, under the current figures (houses prices are up around 13% already in 2022) this means people are earning around £30k a year tax free on average. Without working, sure it may not be spendable at the moment. But assets increase none the less.
Which encourages people to invest as much as they can into their main residence. We also provide tax breaks for inheritance tax purposes which also encourage home ownership. All of this locks money away inside an economy and further affects the spending power of these who don’t own property. A level of unfairness that I have written about before.
Current government policy also allows the right to buy for council property, this discourages council’s from building social housing.
So there are a whole load of things that need to be looked at, unfortunately those NIMBY’s and people like Irene don’t want to be concerned with any of that, all they are interested in is being able to walk their dogs on the same bit of ground they always have done, and to enjoy the views of green fields, after all they have paid taxes and deserve to have what they have paid for, just fuck everyone else.
Well I have a little surprise for Irene it is not going to continue because it is just not fair. Youngsters have to vote, have to make sure their voices are heard.
There are Irene’s about and she wants you to have nothing, not to be able to share in what she has. It started with Uni Fees, then housing and soon the under 40’s will be forced to fund Irene’s pension liability. It’s unfair and there needs to be a shift.
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