Nutters

In a radical report the Policy Exchange said regeneration had failed in cities like Liverpool and Sunderland and all the Government’s three million new homes should be built in London, Oxford or Cambridge.

No, not simply because they think that the new homes should be built there, nor for their insistence that the great Northern cities can never be regenerated.

But because they think that such things can and should be planned in this manner. It\’s the flip side of the Pathfinder idiocy, which calls for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of perfectly decent houses.

There is simply no manner that the centre, the State, can accumulate enough information to tell whether people in 20, 30 or 50 years time will wish to live and work in one place or another. The only method we\’ve got at all is to look at what people do now in a market and see where they go to live.

They\’re nutters not for the results of their plans, but because they\’re trying to design plans in the first place.

5 thoughts on “Nutters”

  1. Well this is not whollly true, is it? If you built high-speed train lines to some Southern towns, cutting the London commute from 1hr 50mins to 45mins, as wouldn’t be that hard, then more people will go and live there? It’s not like the market can build these things anymore, is it?

  2. But aren’t we screwing the market by 1) Paying them to stay put where there are no jobs and 2) not allowing those areas that need more workers build the businesses, factories and housing as and when they need it?

  3. Glenn aka angry economist

    Its nuts to suggest that you can build 1 million houses in Cambridge! we’d be in high rises – the city itself only has about 300,000 residents at most, and that’s counting the urban area, not the local authority boundary.

    In my experience, the Northern Cities, especially the bigger ones like Manchester and Leeds have made real progress in the past 20 years.

    And people did leave Liverpool – in their hundreds of thousands over the 1980s and 1990s. This has stopped – for a reason. Liverpool is in recovery.

    I think that more balanced growth across the UK would be beneficial. Its tough to plan it though – the government is best leading by its spending through services etc. E.g. all the major government research facilities are in the South.

    That aside from the technical faults of the report, but I won’t go into that. Its the day job. Suffice to say that regeneration money was spent in such a different way in different cities and even within different parts of the same city, and that to truly evaluate its effects you have to conduct an economic impact assessment.

  4. Its nuts to suggest that you can build 1 million houses in Cambridge! we’d be in high rises – the city itself only has about 300,000 residents at most, and that’s counting the urban area, not the local authority boundary.

    The point is, it doesn’t matter where the local authority boundary is, any more than it did when the LCC built vast estates between the wars in Essex, Hertfordshire and Middlesex. There’s a great deal of flat empty land around Cambridge that you could build on. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but turning the place into a big city through low-rise greenfield development would certainly be possible.

    In my experience, the Northern Cities, especially the bigger ones like Manchester and Leeds have made real progress in the past 20 years

    …which is why the report singled out the ones that hadn’t, i.e. Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland, and noted that Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle had indeed made real progress.

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