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With A Better Opposition Could Labour Lose The Election On Planning Alone?

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posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 10:47 PM
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1. Labour: We’ll Build More Houses On Flood Plains
www.guardian.co.uk...
www.telegraph.co.uk.../earth/2007/07/23/eagreen123.xml

Why do more houses have to built on flood plains? Ok 10% of our housing is already on them. But 90% aren’t, and even if 90% were why do we have to keep building concrete cells bang next door to each other? Only 4.4, of our 60 million acres are built on anyway. www.newstatesman.com...
And 90% of the population occupy 10% of the countries land
www.peat.me.uk...

2. Labour: We’ll Build 3 million more affordable homes with taxpayer’s money
news.independent.co.uk...

At first I was jubilant because I assumed the government was demanding that councils give planning permission for an extra 3 million homes.
But, no. Mr control freak government has decided that he will build them for you, and once more you won’t be able to buy them because they’re owned by the council.
Interestingly about 1.7 million council homes have been sold over 27 years but only 700,000 replacements have been built. No doubt the next Tory government will have a fun time with those ever so popular “right to buy” policies with council tenants. And if so Labour deserves it.
Of course it would be less popular if for many people getting on the housing ladder wasn’t such an economic miracle that it can only be performed by God (or 20 to 50 year mortgages).

3. Meanwhile it turns out that the 185,000 new homes a year being built is in actual fact almost a 80-year low.
politics.guardian.co.uk...

Here is an article about what the government could choose to do to end the housing crisis, and why in truth it doesn’t really want to…
www.theherald.co.uk...

I hate this Labour government, they are not the party of the working class; and i think it's an embarrassment that money from the Tesco union Usdraw goes to them (most employees don’t even know this, even though it’s millions of pounds from this union alone).
I also hate the Tories for not campaigning more strongly for what the people blatantly want. Therefore I cannot deny that if in parell universe Labour lost the 1997 election and the Tories won, they also would have by now artificially and deliberately created this housing crisis, but I don’t know if it would be any worse.

I think it’s about time Labour said: we will give planning permission for 3 million or 6 or 10 million new homes.
And under this system no government money has to be spent, in fact it can be made because of Capital gains and other taxes.

The fact is affordable housing barely exists in even some of the highest crime, and unpleasant to live in, areas of London; not because new houses cost much to build, but because planning law makes it illegal to build new homes (simple as). The exceptions are small in acreage, and often planning permission can only be obtained if the new dwellings will be “small enough”
It doesn’t even take an act of parliament for the government to demand that councils give permission for more homes. In fact they do that on a regular basis, and this is why they have micro-managed the fact (that historically) so few homes are being built.
In other words the facts seem to speak of a government deliberately causing a house value crisis (for it's own democratically dysfunctional purposes).
Such reasons include: People feel rich (the people that tend to vote) but that people borrow against their home, spend, and help keep economic growth up. They are great reasons if you’re filthy rich and one of those psychopathic rich who only dreams of getting more rich.




posted on Jul, 25 2007 @ 10:30 AM
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Well the polls would currently be indicating Labour are back on course to win the next general election.


As for building on flood plains?
Well it's quite obvious that given the nature of where we plonk ourselves (historically this is almost always nearby to rivers or on the coasts) it's pretty obvious that some danger of flooding is only to be expected.

One might also try a little perspective.
Whilst I can well imagine the heartbreak such 'natural disasters' bring to those that suffer them we do tend to get off very lightly in the scheme of things.
In so many places elsewhere in the world so many people suffer famine, war, disease and grinding poverty.
In England some people lost carpets and some furnishing, OK it's still 'a disaster' but only relatively speaking.
Anyone else catching the weird comparison in this?

It's worth noting that despite the extremely unusual levels of rainfall (stats of 'once every 150 years' have been mentioned) -


The day for Sheffield, a northern English city started as usual, wet and rainy, yes there have been forecasts for a wet June and possible flooding in Northern England, but Sheffielders felt safe in the knowledge that their hilly city is not prone to flooding.

Not even Sheffielders remember when the last big flood occured. Digging back into history you would have to back nearly 150 years to 1864 when the Dale Dyke Dam burst.

www.marketoracle.co.uk...

But the flooding is nothing like as extensive as some might imagine what with all that building on flood plains - by your own stats over 4.4 million hectares have not been affected.

As the Gov Minister rightly pointed out the label 'flood plain' is no reason to switch off your brain and start making unjustified assumptions.

With the piping & rerouting of rivers (most of London's rivers for instance have been piped off for over 100years) the term 'flood plain' does not necessarily mean building housing there is asking for trouble.

We will do more to improve the flood defences, it's been clear that is going to have to happen no matter what but unless brand 'new towns' are founded well away from existing population centres then extending along existing developments (ie those places nearby to rivers or on the coast) is to some extent inevitable.

Like it or not we simply do not build on the basis of 'the worst possible case scenario' when that worst possible case is once every 150 years - or more.

You mentioned public housing.
It would appear that you think some element of public housing is bad.....and this despite a private housing market which is clearly not - and has not for years - served the public as it should.

It's simply not true to pretend that all it takes to sort out every problem existing now is a 'green light' for private developers to build where ever they like.
Right now we can see examples of developers are sitting on their hands watching the sites they currently hold as undeveloped rocketing in value.
From the Guardian link you posted -


But the Royal Town Planning Institute last month revealed that the top 10 firms control, between them, enough land with existing planning permission for nearly 225,000 homes.

politics.guardian.co.uk...

The issue here (as with many things) is one of a matter of balance, to restrain the worst excesses of the private sector we need a properly functioning public sector.

You also seem to think this Gov ought to be constrained because a possible future tory Gov might try to sell off any new public housing stock.
I don't think you'll find too many UK Govs refusing to enact their program just because a future Gov might come in and do the wrong thing.

You might also note that the collapse in public sector building was something the tory party began and sustained for 20yrs (deliberately manipulating prices with short supply).

This Labour Gov have been trying to expand the numbers (through public/private partnerships and non-profit agencies/housing trusts).....and been fought every step of the way by the tory party.....you'll also find the public appetite to pay for such projects a little lacking.

Interesting that you proclaim such "hatred" for the Labour party and yet they are the ones actually doing something to bring back a public housing stock sector to help the very people left behind by the market the tory party spent so long creating and that the tory party (who destroyed that public housing stock) merely get criticised for "not campaigning more strongly for what the people blatantly want".

You have a strange set of priorities at work there Lib.


[edit on 25-7-2007 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jul, 25 2007 @ 11:03 AM
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If me the simple answer is No.

Even with a better opposition, elections are won on a broad range of issues, while for some people it will be planning that will decide how they vote, for others, it will be education, Iraq, NHS, Europe, etc

Sminkey has it right that we are a coastal and river people, and have typically lived near or on coasts and rivers.

I am sure that the opposition when the time is right, challenge the Government on building on flood plains. To me, they are called flood plains for a reason and are the property developers going to spend more money on protecting the houses they build on flood plains or expect the Government to spend money on flood defenses.

Yes we do need more housing across the board, but I think the focus needs to shift from larger executive homes to more affordable local housing.

There are people who will never be able to afford to own their home, (and we can have a long debate on the rights and wrongs here!!) and it should be the due of national, local Government and the private sector to ensure there is enough housing for those who can or do not want to buy.

I suppose the real question is do we are taxpayers want national and local Government to invest in homes for rent?

I agree Lib that the planning laws applied at a national and a local level, do not encourge local, affordable houses.

What are we asking our representives at local and national level to do on planning?



posted on Jul, 25 2007 @ 11:16 PM
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elections are won on a broad range of issues, while for some people it will be planning that will decide how they vote, for others, it will be education, Iraq, NHS, Europe, etc

You’re clearly right FreedomERP not just because elections are fought on a broad range of issues but because many people already own a house (or houses).

But what I mean is that could Labour loose the election with the property crisis being a big nail in they’re political coffin, just like the NHS was for Tories was in 1997?

Since the Tories are trying to attract new voters, they are therefore not attracting just you’re classic Tory type who own they’re own homes. I'm thinking of the young couples-households who are resentful of seeing 40-50% of they’re monthly income (after national insurance tax) go on rent or a mortgage.
Or just those people who would prefer to move out of a concrete cell into a more family sized house, but can’t because they can’t easily afford it.
These types the Tory party must attract.

Originally posted by Sminkeypinky

It's simply not true to pretend that all it takes to sort out every problem existing now is a 'green light' for private developers to build where ever they like.


It’s the consequences of this particular view which is at the heart of year on year housing price crisis. You say…

Right now we can see examples of developers are sitting on their hands watching the sites they currently hold as undeveloped rocketing in value.


But Sminkey hasn’t it occurred to you why these developers are holding onto enough land to build 225,000 houses? Could it be because they can count on a year, on year increase in the value of these plots of land without having to invest anything?
And why’s that I wonder?
Could it be because the government isn’t granting enough planning permission in the first place?
What would happen (I wonder) if there was a surge in planning permission?
Do you really think these private money making machines (Land banks) would sit with they’re hands under they’re arses as (developable) land prices plummet?

No!!! They would be trying to develop them or sell them off as quickly as possible.
And what would that do (I wonder) to any other developable land owners late in the game? Why make them sell of what they had horded for themselves at greatly reduced value.

A surge of say about 8 years worth of planning permission spread over 2 years would be all it takes to liberate this prime development land, and at the same time pave the way for greatly reduced property prices.


Interesting that you proclaim such "hatred" for the Labour party and yet they are the ones actually doing something to bring back a public housing stock sector to help the very people left behind by the market


This is almost laughable. The government are the only ones responsible for denying the planning permission needed to allow so much more (developable) land to be developed. Either they know what they are doing, or the people advising the government on this issue are all very thick (something I doubt).
And if they know what they are doing then they are worthy of considerable contempt because of the plight of the low-low middle income groups.
The government controls this situation almost to the letter, in the same way every government (with a restrictive planning system) anywhere in the world does. The basic principle is not enough permission = escalating house, house-land prices, it’s the reason why it makes sense to hold onto undeveloped land.

Explaining My Hatred…
At face value it appears good-great the Labour government wants to build more council houses.
Yet why are they needed?
1. Is it because there is a shortage of land? With 60 million acres given to us by Weird and only 4.4 million of these developed I would answer no.
2. Is it because council houses are expensive to build?
Well with a general price tag of 30-60 thousand pounds many could say not.
3. Is it because planning system is so screwed, “supply and demand” itself prices these people out? I would answer that with a yes.

(As said) the government has known all along whether it is granting enough planning permission or not. You only have to look at house prices to figure that out. That’s my first reason for hatred.
Obviously the government is wise enough to know this creates problems with the very poor and that is why they are granting 3 million council owned homes.
However it isn’t really necessary if only they would have a surge in planning permission. So instead what they are doing forms part of “sick” vision (second reason for hated) where the only way the poor survive without falling into absolute poverty is to move into one these council owned estate houses. If the government was some innocent bystander in this house crisis; then of course I would be happy they were building all these council houses (so be it at taxpayers expense).
But I’ve looked at it more deeply (acknowledged they’re role in they’re chosen remedies necessity) and so instead it makes me mighty angry. For a start I don’t like the kind of society with poor in one city area (the one with government housing) and everyone elsewhere. It creates problems, and once more (with the construction cost of new homes relatively low) it’s not like it’s necessary for many of the future tenants of these proposed future homes, not to be able to buy they’re own homes (instead of state rent). And my warning to the Labour Party is this holds true twice given what Margaret Thatcher did.
And history does repeat (when the circumstances are right), and they’ll be even more ripe if the cost of housing in the private sector continues to escalate-does not come down, due to too small central gov, local gov planning quotas.

Of course they’ll always be people where even the bricks and mortar cost of a house is too prohibitive (even for a mortgage). E.g. the 16 year old single mum types (and other variants) so for these people council housing is obviously a necessity. But whether we’ll still be needing 3 an extra million council homes for all these destitute types I don’t know. It could even be that we would have a council house surplus with the existing stock.

But this will not happen until home prices resemble more what they cost to construct. And that is down to planning permission, something that’s totally in government hands.

For The Record
Sminkey I did not say developers should be allowed to “build where ever they like”.
I 100% applaud development free zones like nature reserves and national parks.
And for the most part I like the “Local Plan” system used by local councils to allocate development (so that they can meet they’re government targets).
However this is where my support also stumbles a bit as it’s hard to applaud the current policy of seemingly allocating more housing wherever the last boundary line of the local plan was. Instead I think we (in many areas) desperately need small gaps between one batch of housing and next, and I'm not proposing these gaps be anymore than half a mile to two miles (you can casually walk two miles in about half an hour). The point is it would allow greater sections of the populace to escape the urbanisation of they’re world (if only for brief moments of time).
One incentive for local councils would be if they could receive at least a percentage of the governments development tax. It would mean they might want to more build nicer places to live, instead of meeting the governments targets by cramming as many people into one area as possible (like sardines).

But I believe there is a case for building on the countryside if average house plot (minimum requirements) demand that the councils to provide for bigger gardens more often. Because this richly compensates Mother Nature for the wildlife potential she has lost to concrete, and if done appropriately can give her a gain in terms of wildlife potential as I showed in this thread: www.abovepolitics.com...
The only thing I accidentally omitted was the effect of the humble domestic cat. These killing machines fed of biscuits and cans of tinned sheep-cow can be unbelievably bad for bird populations. Therefore there is case that if new houses are to built further into the countryside that they should also be cat free. Many people would like this as it would mean they wouldn’t have to worry about some turd on their lawn, and whilst it would be unpopular in it existing areas, it wouldn’t make much difference to people on the move and who therefore have the county-country at their disposal.

Sminkey I completely agreed with everything you said about building on flood plains, providing that the infrastructure needed to drain water is in fact built-maintained. But there is still a case for well planned new settlements, not only to avoid costs on civil engineering but also brake with the pattern of evermore extending existing settlements so that the standard of living-happiness can be sustained higher for the next 100 years or more (depending on long existing building will last).
(Currently) due to the massive profits to be made developers will reluctantly agree to put civil pumping infrastructure in place (so long as they get they’re permission). However the cost of maintaining it is a long term economic drain, and though annually small it could easily be eliminated if the developers (were in order to get they’re planning permission) required to contribute to the necessary infrastructure to put houses a new (but still nearby) settlements (ones that could still won’t flood).
But as for this weather being a freak 150 year event? “Don’t bet money on it” is the message of most climate change experts.



posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 12:29 PM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984
I'm thinking of the young couples-households who are resentful of seeing 40-50% of they’re monthly income (after national insurance tax) go on rent or a mortgage.


- You should have been around in the sky-high mortgage interest rates of the early & mid 1990's when 2 couple earners - for years - were paying one entire income on the mortgage (as was the case with several people I knew.....and they were on good money then too).

People may well have used the present period of relatively low interest rates to stretch themselves but the rates are nothing like the extortionate and crippling level that they once were (for long periods) under the last tory Gov.


Originally posted by Liberal1984It’s the consequences of this particular view which is at the heart of year on year housing price crisis.


- The fact that developers are sitting on land which could be used for 225,000 properties is not a 'view'.

It is a fact that through their own decisions nd actions they have hoarded agreed development & planning permission for almost 1/4 of a million homes.


Originally posted by Liberal1984
But Sminkey hasn’t it occurred to you why these developers are holding onto enough land to build 225,000 houses? Could it be because they can count on a year, on year increase in the value of these plots of land without having to invest anything?


- Er, well d'uh.....that's exactly what I said.

Sadly the Gov doesn't have the guts to threaten them with a swingeing capital gains tax on that unearned income......that would sort this one out in a flash, unfortunately the fear of being labelled a bit 'red' precludes such appropriate action.


Originally posted by Liberal1984
Could it be because the government isn’t granting enough planning permission in the first place?


- I see, so granting permission for them to hold an effective 'reserve' of agreed housing @ 225,000 homes isn't enough to get them going, eh?

Well it would appear that your answer is to allocate them even more land that they can sit on and not use thereby making not a scrap of difference to the supply of homes (and therefore keeping land and property prices high).

Interesting suggestion there Lib.

Frankly it is absurd to blame the inactivity or mistakes of the private sector on the Gov.....that is simply wanting to have it both ways.

......and your insistence that planning policy is in every instance something the Gov directly controls is actually incorrect too.


Originally posted by Liberal1984
Do you really think these private money making machines (Land banks) would sit with they’re hands under they’re arses as (developable) land prices plummet?


- You seem to be under the illusion that the property developers do not have an alternative to building.....quite clearly they do, if they sit on their 'land bank' and do little or nothing then they keep a 'stock' of agree development available later at guaranteed sky-high prices.
How can they lose? Why should they alter their behaviour?

This is the wholly predictable consequences of what happens when you hand everything over to the private sector.

(excepting the Gov steps in and and creates an additional amount of supply to depress property prices?)

Thankfully (and at long last) we now have a Gov prepared to become active once again in housing......no-one is talking about the public sector 'dominating' housing (and a lot will still be done by public/private partnership and housing trusts) but the additional supply can only help calm the outrageous and unsustainable level of housing inflation we are seeing.

Always was a funny one that 'housing inflation' the one kind of inflation the tory party loved.


Originally posted by Liberal1984
This is almost laughable.


- No Lib what is laughable is your preference to blame the party that was landed with the situation where little or no public housing was being built and large parts of the public housing stock had been sold off.
Despite them expanding the amount of 'social' housing stock available over the years with housiong trusts, agencies and private/public partnerships (which is why it doesn't show in the public sector house building numbers) you prefer to ignore this and just blame them anyway.

Naturally the tory party that are the ones responsible for handing everything to the private sector (and for deliberately reducing supply by slashing the public sector's house building and who sold off much of the public housing stock) gets barely a word of criticism for what they did.


Originally posted by Liberal1984
But as for this weather being a freak 150 year event? “Don’t bet money on it” is the message of most climate change experts.


- Well there we can at least agree.......although thanks to the rear-guard action of the right-wing we have a huge amount of inertia, scepticism and hostility to the idea from those long trained in seeing environmentalism as 'socialism by the back door' etc etc.


[edit on 26-7-2007 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 06:42 PM
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Sminkey surely we both agree that a successive surge in planning permission would bring the value of the land banks down? And this would therefore make the idea of holding land and doing nothing with it less of a great long term investment?

Originally posted by Sminkeypinky

it would appear that your answer is to allocate them even more land that they can sit on and not use thereby making not a scrap of difference to the supply of homes (and therefore keeping land and property prices high).


So we can’t agree that: investors would be scrambling to sell these plots of land to developers before they’re value plummets even further?
Well if I owned one of these plots I would sell the moment the government announces a surge in planning permission, and try to sell before the first wave of this surge is actually implemented.
The reason is that if the government will (for once) supply more than there is demand I know the value of my investment will fall. I also know that if I can sell now I can soon use this money to buy more plots than I had before.
BUT I might not want to put any of this money back into property if I knew prices where A: currently high, and B: that the government would continue to grant permission as long as they are high.
Instead I might want to do something more useful with my money like buy bonds, shares ect.


- The fact that developers are sitting on land which could be used for 225,000 properties is not a 'view'.

No, but the idea they are to be “blamed” for the housing crisis is. Obviously what they’ve done has made the problem worse, but all they’re done is try to make as much money as possible without breaking the law. This is normal in a capitalists system!!! And as long as we remain one, its completely ideological and totally pointless blaming people for doing just that.

So you blame the government for the legislative conditions in which they’re money can be made. Whilst I blame the government for creating the market conditions in which they’re money can be made. Either way it’s the governments fault.

If they won’t go down you’re route because it’ll make them look “red”, then they better go down my route of making planning permission Supply greater, than the Demand.

Instead: They’ve chosen to meet demand. And the way they’ve chosen to is very red indeed. I.e. The state will be the architect, owner and landlord of the new houses.
The one advantage is less houses will be built but…
The Disadvantages Are: The state will have to bare the cost of these new homes, and the way they’ll be built will (short of a brake with the past) create estates of people all too poor to own they’re own homes. And this creates well documented social problems.

Furthermore because the home ownership market has not seen a surge in supply, it’s prices will remain high. This means it will remain hard for the poor to escape the estates whilst everyone else will continue to be resentful of how much a decent place to live, costs (especially if they knew how little it actually costs to construct).

A Conclusion?
Wouldn’t it be great Sminkey if the government used you’re and my solution?
1. First you would have a surge in planning permission (to make sure they’re were more than enough houses for the next few years). Whilst doing this you might actually make it easier to invest in property.
2. Next you would deliberately make it very unwise to invest in property.

Certain firms would loose lots of money. Yet most people would be unaffected as the only investments they have in these firms are a few percentage points of they’re portfolios held at they’re bank.
Also whatever money would be lost would be well redistributed as a house might actually cost less than it costs to build. This is only if you use my solution first (as it guarantees there will be surplus of houses)!!!


If the Chancellor could do that it would be like feeding poison to rats; and they are rats as (as you point out Sminkey) what they do is largely uneconomically constructive. However perhaps economic stability would be badly affected under my strategy? If so…

1. Do you’re solution first: E.g. just penalise holding property assets, but reward property development or construction. It’s easier enough to legislate as the signature of development-construction is that these things get sold on quite soon.
2. Next you steadily flood the market with a gradual surge in planning permission. But because this is a controlled (but most importantly transparent) process so too is the property market collapse. The disadvantage is that it won’t make houses as cheap as they might be; but the advantages are that builders won’t go out of employment-demand and very little money would be lost by anybody (other than, as usual, investment dinosaurs who refuse to move with the times).

So the choice is the governments, but so too is the reason why we find ourselves in this crisis. Throughout the price boom they have determined how many houses must be built, and what qualifies as tax efficient.

[edit on 090705 by Liberal1984]




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