Markets, Markets…

They can lay low the best laid plans of mice and men:

THE GOVERNMENT has paid out a record £450,000 for an end-of-terrace house in one of the Victorian streets being bulldozed across northern England to make way for modern housing developments.


Under the government’s so-called Pathfinder scheme – championed by former deputy prime minister John Prescott – it was proposed up to 200,000 Victorian homes in the Midlands and northern England would be bulldozed and replaced with modern housing developments.

When the Pathfinder projects were first conceived, terraced homes could be bought in the north of England for as little as £12,000, but Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, has been caught out by rising property prices.

So in the years that the planners have been bumbling along the market has solved the problem all by itself. What were formerly places not worth renovating are indeed now worth renovating: at a vastly lower price than the costs of demolition and new build.

In the face of such changed facts, do the planners do a Keynes and change their minds? No, certainly not, they\’ve not that intellecual honesty. They carry on, pissing the taxpayers\’ money away with ever greater abandon.

Aren\’t we lucky to be ruled by such towering intellectual giants?

3 thoughts on “Markets, Markets…”

  1. As someone who lives in just one of these houses, I never understood the government’s campaign. They are certainly more solidly built than modern houses, e.g. my old drill goes through my friend’s house walls with the greatest of ease, yet I had to buy the handheld equivalent of a pneumatic to get through mine. Similarly, terraces are surely the most environmentally sound of all house types. The shared walls mean lower energy losses, smaller land footpring and fewer materials. It was always a weird move and weirder still that they persisted with it.

    However, Tim, I’d be cautious about claiming the market solved this problem. The idea was a bad one irrespective of the housing price. Furthermore, I’m no great believer that the housing market is one of smooth efficiency; though between that and this government, I’ll take the former anyday.

  2. Perhaps, with the modern build standards, they figured out they could get more houses per acre – given that modern build walls are like tissue paper & room dimensions are significantly smaller…?

  3. Perhaps, with the modern build standards, they figured out they could get more houses per acre

    That may well be true were the demolished houses typical Semi-detached but it won’t be true for these terraced houses. I too lived in several and the distance from the house to the street pavement was zero in the worst case and 20ft in the best. The back yards were not much bigger in in most and in the back-to-backs, non existent.

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