92% of Britain is undeveloped says Lord Wolfson

Therefore we must develop at least some of the the countryside into garden cities.

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Lord WolfsonObviously the noble Lord does not eat and thus does not need farms nor does he breathe and thus does not need air purified by trees. Assuming however that he does eat it is the countryside whence the food cometh and we cannot carry on assuming that someone else can provide the food, as seems to be the believe also of some ministers. Some of them, not so long ago, stated that we do not need farming in Britain as we can buy all our food from abroad and yes, it was a member of the Conservative Party.

The countryside provides food, employment, housing and environment and while you can improve all of those it does not mean that you substitute one for the other.

Lord Wolfson, head of the clothing retailer Next in the UK and a major contributor to the Conservative Party says that we need more new garden cities and they must be built on countryside land as the countryside is underdeveloped and empty.

We trapped ourselves in tight urban areas giving ourselves the impression that there is no countryside left, he said, and continued to say that the reality is that 92% of Britain is undeveloped but we don't just see it.

Lord Wolfson then further stated that there is an enormous amount of land that could be developed into beautiful garden cities, not urban jungles. According to him those areas of the countryside are empty and unproductive and of no use. I would say he needs to get out more and get a life.

Those areas would be more bio-diverse than the agriculture that they would be replacing.

Lord Wolfson is offering a quarter of a million Pounds to whoever comes up with the best plans for a new garden city (or should that, maybe, read cities) in Britain.

Whilst the majority of the country may be undeveloped that does not mean that it should all be developed,. But that appears to be something that Lord Wolfson has in mind.

A lot of the agriculture and the countryside management that goes on in the countryside is a good use of land and we must away from the feeling that just because there is no development going on there.

Lord Wolfson does seem to be alluding also that the 92% of the underdeveloped countryside is available to be exploited for development which is a total fallacy and as stupid as the people who he showers money upon.

Garden cities could have a lot to offer as far as housing is concerned as long as they are planned and developed in line with the needs of the countryside and the environment. Otherwise you just create another block of unsustainable housing.

However, when it comes to housing we do NOT need more homes. We have more than enough empty homes and properties that could be turned into homes all over the country. In fact, there are enough homes to house the homeless of this country, those of Eire and of one or two other smaller EU nations and still have room to spare.

The idea of garden cities fail in the provision of housing as they would be built to the detriment of the existing settlements, no doubt, and thus the existing settlements would be left – as derelict often and with all the problems that they have – that is to say as they are in favor of new developments and this is not sustainable in the same way as the idea that the last Labour government floated of Eco-Towns was another one of those silly ideas that would have benefited builders and developers and no one else.

Instead we must redevelop our existing settlements and make them more livable. We must build viable communities and while garden cities are one way a much better way is to actually turn our existing settlements into such viable communities. Build on what we already have rather than design and build new settlements in the middle of nowhere with the need for all the infrastructure and everything else that goes with it. Making the existing communities more sustainable and making them into places where people actually want to live (and work).

We have already once had so-called garden cities but some of them were basically Legoland of the real world designed on the drawing board and then plonked into the countryside with little or no consideration of the people in the countryside and also for the people that were moved to those new cities.

The problem with garden cities or so-called eco-towns plonked into the countryside is that they also need infrastructure, such as water, gas, electricity and roads leading to them and would add even more to the commute that we are – I thought – want to get rid off.

In order to do the latter, however, we must either move the jobs to where people live or have people move again to where the jobs are and, while living in the country is great, if you work in the city that's where your home should be also. Leave the countryside and the living therein to those who actually also work there.

Britain does not have a housing crisis. That is utter baloney. Britain has an empty homes crisis and many of those homes are, in fact, local authority ones that are being earmarked for destruction and “redevelopment”, as in the case of the Ocean Estate in Stepney and the Robin Hood Estate in Poplar. And those are but two examples of many that could be listed.

Thus we do not need new garden cities and ideas such as those – except in order to make money for the builders – but we need to have the existing homes refurbished and the areas in which they are located made more livable and improved. A much better and cheaper option and also a much more environmentally friendly one.

It is very worrying that some of the members of our government have absolutely no idea as to the way things are in real life and that also includes the one who, when challenged as to the ancient woods that are threatened with destruction in the path of HS2 states that there is nothing to worry about. The government would just move the woods. In which parallel universe do those people actually live?

© 2013