Mill Hill East Transport (before the bean counters cut it all)


Monday, 30 April 2012

Evening Standard: "Has the green belt had its day?"

Link to Evening Standard

"Nobody wants to see environmental degradation, but is the London green belt a yoke around Britain's neck? With population levels spiralling, house prices increasing and discretionary incomes plunging, could one of the single most effective steps to boosting the UK economy be to start opening up the green belt for development, creating jobs in the process?

"... Relaxing green belt restrictions need not be equivalent to junking the whole concept - this doesn't need to be 'baby and bathwater' territory. Similarly, not all green belt land is of equal beauty; surely some of it could go?"

Thursday, 26 April 2012

BBC: "Showing paintings of British suburban houses to Saudis"

Link to BBC web site

"From LS Lowry's matchstick factory workers, to a haunting depiction of Stonehenge in winter - dozens of works of art have gone on show in Riyadh to try to depict the UK's landscape and people to Saudis.

"The art in the exhibition 'Out of Britain' is dominated by landscapes and abstract compositions - rather than works displaying human form. Selections were made by five Saudi curators, with help from the British Council. Take a look with the council's visual arts director, Andrea Rose."

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

IEA: "Only liberalisation of land use planning system can address affordability crisis"

Link to IEA web site

"... In summary, there is overwhelming empirical evidence that planning restrictions have a substantial impact on housing costs. It is also fully plausible, albeit not (yet) definitely confirmed, that planning restrictions play a much more important role than scarcity of developable land, be it due to topographic obstacles or past development.

Even in very densely populated and built-up places, regulatory restrictions have been found to be important determinants of housing costs. If such evidence can be found for Manhattan and Hong Kong, then there is hardly any place in Britain where housing shortages could be blamed on scarcity of space. High housing costs are a self-inflicted problem.

"...  Opinion surveys show strong resistance to development, which allows the anti-development lobby to present their views as fully in accordance with the public mood. But this is not the least surprising given that these surveys bear no resemblance to real-world decision-making processes, which involve opportunity costs and trade-offs. They are no more meaningful than asking ‘would you prefer to get up two hours later in the morning’ or ‘would you prefer to work closer to home’: other things equal, how could the answer be in the negative? 

What matters is the choice people make when faced with real-world opportunities, facing the benefit and (opportunity) cost of each, and making trade-offs. Unless the planning system moves a lot closer to a decision-making process of this type, there will be no lasting solution to the housing affordability crisis."

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sunday Telegraph: "Middle England goes to war as the National Trust fights planning reforms"

Link to Sunday Telegraph

"Dame Fiona Reynolds has given the Prime Minister a bloody nose. She wouldn’t put it like that, being a woman who likes to win her battles with cream teas and a smile, but the fact is that the director general of the National Trust and her allies have just forced the Government to rewrite the rules on planning development, preserving swathes of the countryside.

"'They listened and we thank them for it,' says Dame Fiona, sitting in the ultra-modern, environmentally-friendly offices of the National Trust in Swindon. The fight is not over yet. 'We won’t leave it alone now. We will be watching what happens next, and playing our part'."