Worstalls Elsewhere

Well, at least, a nee Worstall, now known as Jenny Young. My sister is embroiled in a battle with some developers in leafy Croydon. The story here and the website here.

I\’ll admit to not being fully up to speed but it seems that of three Victorian houses, the developer owns two and Sis one. The developer has been turned down for planniing to demolish and build flats. The appeal has been heard but the decision not out yet. Said developers intend to demolish the buildings anyway.

Apparently, whatever objections there are to the development plans go away if they do demolish….despite their having been refused planning permission.

All rather nefarious: when I turned to this blog\’s Croydon correspondent I was told that arson ahead of listing decisions was common in that part of the world.

If anybody knows how said developers can be stopped then the larger Worstall family would love to know.

13 thoughts on “Worstalls Elsewhere”

  1. Similarly, the owner of a property down the road from me was refused permission to demolish and rebuild as flats. He left it open to squatters who obligingly started a fire. It has now been demolished, and will, of course, be replaced by flats.

  2. You want to stop a property owner from doing what he wants with his own property? The simple solution would be to declare “Property is theft”, nationalize his houses, make him and his sister move out and force him to let poor families live in his homes for free. And, while your at it, take away everything else he owns and ban him to a Siberian gulag.

  3. john stuart millennium bridge

    Now David VV is just going to silly extremes. Your sister simply has to accept that those houses are the developer’s property and he should be able to do whatever he bloody well likes with them! Our God/Darwin-given economic system already incorporates all the costs that matter, and all these planning rules and regulations are just creeping socialism. And if the Young family think they have suffered then there are loads of lawyers ready to help them sue for some money afterwards.

  4. john stuart millennium bridge

    Actually I’d like to have given some helpful suggestions, but I suspect the Youngs have heard it all already . Planning/development is a rather heartless and complicated arena where everyone believes themselves to be some kind of underdog, including rich and well connected developers.

  5. My (informed) guess is that the developers would easily win their appeal against the refusal of permission to redevlop the site with flats. This is what is driving these redevelopment proposals:

    “The government this month [in 2003] unveiled plans to build hundreds of thousands of new homes in south-east England to tackle a severe shortage of affordable homes. . . The lack of affordable housing in the South-East is seen as a blow to efforts to recruit more public service workers.”

    Curiously, when it comes to building more new housing in the south-east, the government is unworried about water supply problems:

    “Water shortages in the South East have become so extreme the Environment Agency wants five new reservoirs to be built in the next 25 years.”

    I wonder who is going to have to pay for those new reservoirs and improving the water supply capacity in the south-east?

  6. I wonder who is going to have to pay for those new reservoirs and improving the water supply capacity in the south-east?

    I would have thought that the hundreds of thousands of new households in the region would more than pay for it, either directly via their water bills or indirectly via tax.

  7. Tim, given the desirability of Victorian houses, and the fact that we aren’t making them anymore, surely demolishing these two will make your sister’s house more valuable?

    Of course this

    objections there are to the development plans go away if they do demolish….despite their having been refused planning permission.

    shows how dumb the law is – if we are going to have a planning permission system, then its decisions should be enforced. Of course, arson should be a matter for the police and insurance companies to deal with.

  8. Hmm. I used to live not a million miles from Elgin Road. To say that the Victorian architecture of that neck of the woods is ‘uninspriring’ is to put it mildly. English domestic architecture was going through a rough patch at that time, and it produced some coyote-ugly buildings.

    Leaving that aside – de gustibus and all that – did the owner of the two homes in question buy them legally?

    Assuming that he did – is he within his rights to demolish homes that he owns?

    Has he yet broken any law – leaving aside political issues about whether he should be allowed to do as he pleases with his own damned property – has he yet breached any planning or building regulation?

    No? (I think not, but stand to be corrected).

    The leave him the hell alone.

    If you don’t want other people to use their property in ways you don’t like, the answer is simple – convert it from their property to your property, at which point, it’s yours to do with as you please.



  9. “I would have thought that the hundreds of thousands of new households in the region would more than pay for it, either directly via their water bills or indirectly via tax.”

    Quite so. In today’s news:

    “Household water and sewerage bills are to increase by 5.8% on average across England and Wales. . . Southern Water customers will see their average combined bill increase by £26. Households served by Wessex Water face a £29 rise. These are both increases of 7.8% on the last bill. . . Ofwat said it had worked hard to ease the pain for families. . . ‘Clearly any bill increases are going to be unwelcome but these price rises are essential to enable companies to continue to provide high-quality, secure water and sewerage services both now and for future generations.'”

    Basically, a regular problem in Britain for the last 80 or so years has been a mismatch between where the housing is and where the jobs are. Britain’s population is presently growing strongly, mostly through inward migration, while parts of Britain – like Merseyside, Humerside, South Yorkshire and Scotland – are suffering population decline or the prospect of it on demographic projections. Housing is being demolished in Humerside and South Yorkshire. While that is going on, the world and his dog is trying to move to London – 1 in 3 London residents nowadays were born abroad – because inner London, despite pockets of acute poverty, is one of the most affluent sub-regions in Europe by a margin.

    Billions have been spent in regional incentives trying to attract new jobs or to get jobs to move to Scotland, Wales, Merseyside, Humberside and South Yorkshire but without enough success. In c. 2003, John Prescott, then the relevant minister, decide that the Canute strategy of the last 80 years wasn’t working so more housing would have to be built in the booming parts of Britain such as London and the south-east and eastern regions. As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, London and the south-east regions are bankrolling the rest of Britain – the exchequer revenues from taxpayers in the booming regions are billions greater than government spending in the south-east region and London – citations available.

    As for Croydon, news in January:

    “Two penthouses at the top of Croydon’s tallest building have [just] been sold for more than a £1million each. . . ”

    Some friendly personal advice to the campaigners – for whom I much much personal sympathy – do the analysis before writing the prescriptions.

  10. More power to your sister’s elbow, but, Tim, aren’t you advocating a blatant interference in the free market by a nanny state you otherwise deplore?

    Tim adds: Close, but no cigar. I am 1) making sure that I am welcome at my Mother’s Christmas table in the future (economics and politics be damned in the face of that threat of banishment and no, I’m not at all surprised at the comments above) and 2) on of the things we do have the State for is to monitor the preservation of rights under the law. In this case, the ancient common law right of “lights” in my sister’s house is under threat. It’s one of the reasons the planning permission was refused.

  11. Surely, people aren’t so free-market as to think the developer can do anything with their property? What if they wanted to build an abattoir? They can just get on and do it? Seems that we all need a little control in what we can each do next door so that we can remain remotely neighbourly.

    I’d take a Victorian house following renovations over a new flat any day.

  12. Lysander Spoonfed

    Ha ha ha ha ha – smuggo Libertarian free-marketeer suddenly goes all NIMBY and neocon Nick Cohen attacks him from the left! Genius.

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