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Well, yes Geoffrey

but we are proud of the Green Belts and other controls that have stopped, for example, south-east England from becoming a sprawling megapolis like much of the US East Coast,

But others of us do insist on pointing to the costs of those Green Belts and controls.

They are, for example, a subsidy to everyone within the Green Belt who owns land. They help to explain why housing is so expensive inside said Green Belts.

The controls as a whole explain why, in the SE at least, a good 50% of the price of a house is the permission to build it: not the house itself, not the land underlying it, but just the chitty that says that you can build a house there.

Given the pain and grief this imposes on people looking for somewhere to live, perhaps that price should be tempered a little, eh?

 

7 thoughts on “Well, yes Geoffrey”

  1. The answer is pretty obvious: local authorities might sell housing permissions to highest bidder and use proceeds to defray Council Tax.(As no doubt Adam Smith would say, being one of the most notable exponents of the long British tradition of land value tax.)

  2. Note also he doesn’t know the Eastern United States: greener, less densely developed and cleaner than any English “green belt.”

  3. So, how do greenbelts reduce urban sprawl? If you forbid development in an area close to the city don’t you eventually force it further out. At least that is what seems to be happening in Ottawa. There, I am seeing lumps of urban style housing sitting in the middle of farmland. Great system- you get to live in a row house, and have a 10 km drive across the greenbelt to buy groceries.

  4. Bill, basically because land use is so intensely controlled in Britain that building anywhere takes about 10 years of providing perverse favours to the planning committee, and even then they’ll probably say no.

    The sad thing about this situation really is how the rural romantic arses have, through years of bluebell wood propaganda, convinced most of the people forced to live in an urban shoebox for an enormous rent to support the policy- “left” wing and “right” wing alike. It’s truly depressing.

  5. Ian B,

    The sad thing about this situation really is how the rural romantic arses have, through years of bluebell wood propaganda, convinced most of the people forced to live in an urban shoebox for an enormous rent to support the policy- “left” wing and “right” wing alike. It’s truly depressing.

    Which is all just a fig-leaf for house prices. No-one wants to say “I don’t want more housing near me because my house will drop 10% in price, and goddamn it, I’ve paid for that view over fields”, so they talk about bluebells, ancient woodlands, newts and whatever else makes them sound public-spirited.

  6. Surely the benefits system makes housing expensive in London? I know people who have got off a plane from Spain and were given free housing.

    Unless you have unlimited housing in desirable places this will obviously put the prices up.

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