Letters: Reaction to MP’s view on need to build on undeveloped land
MP Nick Boles says if we don’t build more homes we will “return to Victorian values” when property-ownership was a privilege given to a few wealthy people.
But housing is not just a matter of supply. People have to be able to pay for it.
For owner-occupiers, this relies on lenders willing to lend and buyers earning enough money to save for a deposit and repay a mortgage. This becomes increasingly difficult when those leaving university are already saddled with debt thanks to this Government increasing tuition fees. And tenants can’t rent if they don’t earn enough.
Nick Boles says it’s a choice between people “propping up their kids and grandkids” or “accept more development”. This is a false choice. It’s been estimated that there are 710,000 empty houses in England (Emptyhomes.com). This doesn’t include flats above shops or empty commercial premises which could be turned into residential accommodation.
Nick Boles should have noticed two things when he travels round the local area. First, there are hundreds of houses already being built in Bourne and the Deepings, and more planned for Stamford. Much of this development is on agricultural land which we need to help feed ourselves. The minister’s plans would take even more land out of production.
Second, he should have noticed the large number of For Sale signs which remain for months, even years, because owners can’t find a buyer. But the Government’s “New Buy” scheme which helps first-time buyers with small deposits only applies if they purchase new homes not existing ones.
Perhaps Nick Boles could persuade the Government to extend the scheme to cover existing houses instead of restricting it to new build.
Local communities won’t be persuaded by the “Boles bung” when the area is already being developed and when existing houses remain unsold. Neither should they accept more building on agricultural land or flood plains. Not when so many premises which could be turned into homes remain unoccupied. And not when town centres are declining – turning empty shops into homes could bring welcome regeneration to such areas.
The planning framework that Boles proposes appears to have more to do with pleasing the house builders who donated to the Tory party than ensuring affordable homes.
Swift Way, Thurlby
I wonder if Nick Boles has ever studied the history of the world? Houses are not the most important, food is.
Look at the history of Easter Island, the islanders destroyed the habitat and the island was abandoned. There are many more examples of similar happenings.
Over the last 200 years the population of India has multiplied five times while the population of England has multiplied 15 times. Does this mean anything?
Our greenbelt land is important. There are enough houses in our country, many are empty. When I was young many shops had flats above them. Why can’t these shop flats be utilised now? Secondly why is so much land in our area being utilised for solar panels, surely it would be more efficient if every new house was fitted with solar panels. Come on Mr Boles think of the problems that your ideas will be creating . . . the problem is that of population explosion. What do you intend to do about that?
Maple Gardens, Bourne
Once again our MP does not understand what green belt land means to the people of this country. He is planning to bribe councils with tax payers’ money and if that fails he will then instruct the councils to build on the sites. He also finds the situation funny by stating he wants the bribe to be known as “the Boles bung” what a stupid statement from an M P who will want us to vote for him in the future. He is an absolute disgrace to this rural area of Lincolnshire.
In Bourne, it seems the whole town is a building site, Houses having been built on the old laundry site, the Rainbow and Raymond Mays site plus 2,000 houses being built at Elsea Park plus many others. How many more do we need?
Mr Boles has also stated that half the houses he wants to build are for immigrants to this country. Surely, his government said they were going to control the immigration numbers. Also, don’t forget that in January 2014 there will be up to 30 million Romanians and Bulgarians able to come to this country. Are the government to stop this happening? If not we will need twice the houses that Mr Boles currently wants to build.
Other than building houses there is also the mad programme of solar farms. In Bourne and Peterborough there are plans in the making for using Grade 1 and 2 arable land as solar farms totalling almost 1000 acres.
As we currently only produce 60 per cent of the food required, these plans will reduce the production further. This of course means that more food is imported increasing the cost of food and also the country’s balance of payments.
Akeman Close, Bourne
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Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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