Fuck London

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
London, as John points out, is full of empty properties. In fact it's a remarkably sparsely populated city. Making use of empty properties, redeveloping those that have gone to seed, and building up again instead of outwards, is surely the way to go. Not endless, land-hungry, suburban/exurban sprawl.

It should definitely be illegal to own property without using it for longer than, say, a year. Either let it out, use it for a business of some kind or just sell it, but don't just hang on it and leave it empty. It's outrageous that that happens while prices and rents just get higher and higher all the time.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa

I thought this was an interesting story. The (comparatively) modest rich having their golf club and neighbourhoods bought up and invaded by the mega-rich (who aren't even living in their houses most of the time).

These homeowners are rarely seen, using these residences only for a month or two each year. The houses got bigger and plusher, until they resembled hotels. Wyatt looks after at least three houses that spend close to £500,000 yearly on maintenance alone. Owners install massage rooms, cinemas and hairdressing salons. “One house I saw had a present-wrapping room in the basement,” Wyatt said. “There were racks of gifts, wrapping paper, and a big table in the middle to wrap things.” The British Islanders aren’t always happy about their new neighbours; Nigel Moss told me, ruefully, that his road might as well be called “Russia Row”, there were so many Russian-owned homes on it.
 

RWY

Well-known member
Where would these new towns go, though? SE England isn't overflowing with land that's just sort of sitting around not doing much.
18-05-11-Opportunities_for_new_homes_in_London-01.png
Releasing some land in these areas would help address the fundamental problem underpinning the housing crisis in successful cities such as London: supply. For years our cities have not been able to release enough land to accommodate their population and economic growth. This shortage has pushed the average house price in London up to almost 17 times local incomes – compared to five and a half times local incomes in Liverpool, for example – despite London’s higher wages. Moreover, the green belt does not just restrict housing supply around London, it also results in housing development leapfrogging the green belt, and being built in areas far away from London – as demonstrated by the map below from our recent City Space Race report. That means longer commutes for people working in London, and it’s also bad news for the environment, as it results in more carbon-intensive journeys into the capital each day.
The consensus for green belt reform is growing - so too is the pressure for Government to act - Centre For Cities
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
So the proposed solution is to build low-density housing on the green belt until the entire SE of England is a near-continuous conurbation from Oxford to Dover?

Sounds great.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Neither of these are positions I am proposing or advocating - stop building strawmen.
Sure, but you ARE saying that it would be preferable to build on the greenbelt than to force owners to use the actual empty spaces in London aren't you?
 

RWY

Well-known member
Sure, but you ARE saying that it would be preferable to build on the greenbelt than to force owners to use the actual empty spaces in London aren't you?
Yes and no - any such empty space (should it exist) within Central London should be put to more economically productive uses than the accomodation of affordable or low-cost housing, which should be built on the periphery where land costs are lower.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Two questions though - what if it is an empty block of flats, would you still say that? And what are these more economically productive uses, if such existed then wouldn't the owners already be doing that?
 

RWY

Well-known member
Two questions though - what if it is an empty block of flats, would you still say that? And what are these more economically productive uses, if such existed then wouldn't the owners already be doing that?
1) Yes and 2) No idea but I doubt it's affordable housing.

No government is likely to ever have the power or will to curtail the outlined phenomenon - hence my point that it would be better to be realistic about this and, rather than tutting over poor doors and believing that cosy, feel good, local-democratic solutions can alleviate such pressures, postulate what other solutions could be envisaged, taking into account that London's populations and demographics have changed, and will continue to change, in part due to the economic pressures which cannot be controlled.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Neither of these are positions I am proposing or advocating - stop building strawmen.
Strawmen? Bloor, Persimmon, Barratt and the rest are throwing up dormitory unvillages of ugly, poorly built houses on green land all over the southern half of the country. They take up huge amounts of land, have no communal space or amenities, and are impossible to live in unless you have a car. It's bad enough here in Devon, and the SW is relatively insulated from the real population growth that's concentrated in the southeast.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
1) Yes and 2) No idea but I doubt it's affordable housing.

No government is likely to ever have the power or will to curtail the outlined phenomenon - hence my point that it would be better to be realistic about this and, rather than tutting over poor doors and believing that cosy, feel good, local-democratic solutions can alleviate such pressures, postulate on a bigger scale what other solutions could be envisaged, taking into account that London's populations and demographics have changed, and will continue to change, in part due to the economic pressures which cannot be controlled.
I think that using empty flats to provide housing for people who have nowhere to live sounds like a pretty good proposal personally. I'd certainly prefer that to building over the countryside.
 

RWY

Well-known member
We should be building multiple New Towns along the lines of places such as Almere in the Netherlands (see here), located on the recently extended Crossrail and Thameslink networks for journey times of 30-60 minutes into Central London.
 
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