Robin Orton wrote:
Tim Lund wrote: I do not say the problem is just about supply, and I do give answers to his questions.
Not to mine, though. Should we assume that you believe that all new housing should be built, for sale, by commercial developers?
In the sense of ones whose business model is financially sustainable, then yes; in the sense of in the private sector, no. In principle I'm agnostic, but in practice, I recognise that most development would be done by private sector companies, although this could be as agents rather than principals.
Robin Orton wrote:And what exactly were 'the mistakes of the fifties and sixties'?
What Lee explains, and where I happen to agree with him.
I modified what he originally wrote to specify "the mistakes of ..." because it's a bit rash to suggest everything which happened in those decades in housing was mistaken. I think most people would say it started off quite well, with housing such as this
Yes - I know Nye Bevan was responsible for housing in the 40s, but that's the style of housing which would have been going up at the start of the 50s. Looking it up on Wikipedia, this is interesting
Bevan's rate of house-building was seen as less of an achievement than that of his Conservative (indirect) successor, Harold Macmillan, who was able to complete some 300,000 a year as Minister for Housing in the 1950s. Macmillan was able to concentrate full-time on Housing, instead of being obliged, like Bevan, to combine his housing portfolio with that for Health (which for Bevan took the higher priority). However critics said that the cheaper housing built by Macmillan was exactly the poor standard of housing that Bevan was aiming to replace. Macmillan's policies led to the building of cheap, mass-production high-rise tower blocks, which have been heavily criticised since (arguably due to many of them degenerating into new slums).
I'm not sure that that style of housing would be the best model for today; now we need to plan for more flexibility, higher densities and newer, more environmentally sustainable materials, but just because people like me say we need more housing now, it's hardly fair to say we want to repeat whatever sorts of error Harold Macmillan was responsible for. That's why organisations such as Shelter come up with proposals, such as they did for last year's Wolfson Prize, of a new town on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent
. As it happens, I think the winner - a plan for the expansion of a lightly fictionalised Oxford - was better conceived, since it builds on the strength of an existing, successful urban centre. What I haven't seen yet, is a good long term plan for a large metropolitan area such as London, whose size means that densification of existing developed areas is required.