– a letter regarding the predations of developers, and the madness of old politics
I write regarding the planning proposals for housing in the north of Beverley. This government, and previous ones, have set up a presumption in favour of new build, putting pressure on local authorities to identify land. The construction industry has lobbied hard for this. It is not about need, it's about profits for construction companies. It comes from the tired ideology of ‘growth’, which is extremely short-term : like allowing a dog to run wild with no thought for the consequences for dog or community. Look at Ireland - new houses built, then bulldozed. Look at casino banking…..The myth of infinite growth (on a finite planet) is busted and we had better hurry up and accept it.
In the context of the global oil crisis, we need land for food as we must now focus on producing most of our food locally. Government targets for new building are highly questionable - they are about a decade old and the economic climate has changed completely in that time. Before building new houses, one has to ask where are the jobs in the area for the occupants? is there sufficient infrastructure? what are the transport implications? – but most importantly, can we afford to cover this valuable food-producing land in concrete? We take food for granted at our peril.
Brownfield sites are available, and old housing needs renovation, which would provide local jobs instead of work for huge construction companies - which are, by nature, very wasteful and, like other multi-nationals, drain wealth out of the area. However, there is no VAT on new build, and large construction companies prefer to work on virgin land - so where are the incentives to do the right thing?.
The 'corporate growth' idea is outdated. Are we concerned about the welfare of local traders and communities - or big business ?... It’s time to think differently.