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> No modestly priced housing at Sterling Cables
Andy Capp
post Jun 8 2014, 10:51 AM
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I see yet another major development has been approved despite having no 'affordable' housing element. Seeing as Julian Swift-Hook et al. have no bottle to insist on this important element of housing development planning, I think it is time to get rid of it; it is pointless and our authorities are toothless to insist on. I see the developer will not disclose the expected profit from the Sterling Cables development. That on it's own would have led me to reject it had I'd been in a position to do so.

We need affordable housing, so what we are seeing is a form of 'ethnic cleansing' in the town. The people who can least afford it are being removed from it.
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post Jun 8 2014, 11:12 AM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jun 8 2014, 11:51 AM) *
I see yet another major development has been approved despite having no 'affordable' housing element. Seeing as Julian Swift-Hook et al. have no bottle to insist on this important element of housing development planning, I think it is time to get rid of it; it is pointless and our authorities are toothless to insist on. I see the developer will not disclose the expected profit from the Sterling Cables development. That on it's own would have led me to reject it had I'd been in a position to do so. We need affordable housing, so what we are seeing is a form of 'ethnic cleansing' in the town. The people who can least afford it are being removed from it.


Wrong. It has not been approved it was just given the green light by the toothless Town Council. It still has to go through the mill of the WBC planning.

As far as the euphemistic affordable housing, it is, in this case a burden on the developer to spend upwards of £6m before he does anything on the site. This includes getting rid of contamination and providing land and the effort to stick a road through that the highways department want, a new footpath in Kings Road and probably give land on the Eastern end so that the council can get a two way bridge in Boundary Road.

Equally, as far as the development profit is concerned, the architect was quite right to tell the Town Council to mind their own business when they asked how much profit was there. They are the last people to whinge about confidentiality clauses methinks. It so happens that the developer has agreed with the planning department that there will be an open book policy between themselves.

What that has got to do with ethnic cleansing I don't know.

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Turin Machine
post Jun 8 2014, 11:24 AM
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I know it will never happen but I would like to see councils building low rise truly affordable housing and providing the mortgages as well. Weed out profiteers and potential landlords, derive a profit from mortgage repayments and plough that into more housing.

Removes it from developers, benefits the whole community, solves the local housing crisis. I know it won't work but, wouldn't it be luvverly.
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blackdog
post Jun 8 2014, 12:02 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 12:24 PM) *
I know it will never happen but I would like to see councils building low rise truly affordable housing and providing the mortgages as well. Weed out profiteers and potential landlords, derive a profit from mortgage repayments and plough that into more housing.

Removes it from developers, benefits the whole community, solves the local housing crisis. I know it won't work but, wouldn't it be luvverly.

It worked well for a few decades, no reason why it shouldn't again, but it's not fashionable these days to talk of state supplied housing. However, the real problem is the cost of land, allowing the market to control prices while the state controls planning has inflated house prices ludicrously. I'm no fan of unrestricted building so the only logical alternative is for the state to control land prices as well (for large developments at least). Allowing land owners a premium of say 500% over agricultural land prices would seem fair and should reduce the cost of a new house enormously.

I'm not convinced that the state should supply mortgages though - the whole idea of a mortgage should be about people who can afford them - not encouraging people to buy what they can't afford (remember what got us into the recession). State housing could solve the shortage of affordable rental homes, reduce the cost of renting in the private sector, increase the supply of houses to buy (as buy to let landlords sell uneconomic rentals - in theory reducing house prices a little), and, hopefully, wean the country off the daft idea that everyone should buy a home.

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On the edge
post Jun 8 2014, 12:13 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 12:24 PM) *
I know it will never happen but I would like to see councils building low rise truly affordable housing and providing the mortgages as well. Weed out profiteers and potential landlords, derive a profit from mortgage repayments and plough that into more housing.

Removes it from developers, benefits the whole community, solves the local housing crisis. I know it won't work but, wouldn't it be luvverly.


Oh the irony!

Yes, it would work and it did. Why the Council? Let's face it, they can't even provide public lavatories. The mutual building societies used to do exactly what you suggest. I wonder how many of us did what I did and vote 'no' when members were asked if they wanted their society to become a plc? Ooh no, once I've got my house, I'll take the cash please. Ever wonder where Mrs T's famous 'there is no such thing as society' comes from?

Where does the 'low rise' constraint come from? Is that simply applying popular prejudice to other peoples lives? Many people do actually want the convenience of living in town centres, without gardens they'd have to maintain and with spectacular views.

The general perception against high rise was caused by the very people you are suggesting could sort things out - our dear local Councils!! Cheap utility design and construction,
coupled with appalling estate management and a total failure to properly maintain. Trust our Councils with housing again; err no thanks, once bitten and all that!


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On the edge
post Jun 8 2014, 12:17 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Jun 8 2014, 01:02 PM) *
It worked well for a few decades, no reason why it shouldn't again, but it's not fashionable these days to talk of state supplied housing. However, the real problem is the cost of land, allowing the market to control prices while the state controls planning has inflated house prices ludicrously. I'm no fan of unrestricted building so the only logical alternative is for the state to control land prices as well (for large developments at least). Allowing land owners a premium of say 500% over agricultural land prices would seem fair and should reduce the cost of a new house enormously.

I'm not convinced that the state should supply mortgages though - the whole idea of a mortgage should be about people who can afford them - not encouraging people to buy what they can't afford (remember what got us into the recession). State housing could solve the shortage of affordable rental homes, reduce the cost of renting in the private sector, increase the supply of houses to buy (as buy to let landlords sell uneconomic rentals - in theory reducing house prices a little), and, hopefully, wean the country off the daft idea that everyone should buy a home.


Quite agree, state control of land with a vibrant and respectable rented sector would take us way forward. I've always felt that 'affordable' is simply another unnecessary stigma, a bit like 'special' when applied to kids!


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Exhausted
post Jun 8 2014, 12:26 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 12:24 PM) *
I know it will never happen but I would like to see councils building low rise truly affordable housing and providing the mortgages as well. Weed out profiteers and potential landlords, derive a profit from mortgage repayments and plough that into more housing. Removes it from developers, benefits the whole community, solves the local housing crisis. I know it won't work but, wouldn't it be luvverly.


Well as has already been said, that is what used to happen. People always rented their accommodation apart from the richer bretheren of course. The whole of Turnpike estate was built as Council houses and allocated by the Newbury District Council. I would say that would be low rise with a large garden. The houses were a bit basic but in those days that is what happened and people were satisfied with that. It's no good calling them the good old days though as washing machines, tumble dryers, central heating and even fridges were luxuries whereas today, they are essentials along with an expensive mobile phone or two, a late model motor car or two. The world has changed and we need to live with it.

So what happened to Turnpike, it was sold to the tenants at ridiculously low price and therefore there was little money available for the council to invest in replacement stock. As soon as they could the purchasers took their profit and wanted bigger and better and more desireable homes.

Luvverly.




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Turin Machine
post Jun 8 2014, 12:59 PM
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With low rise it's easier to provide things like space to park your car, gets rid of the stigma attached to the Mandela house syndrome. Also provides somewhere for mum to park the kids, gives wildlife a chance. No one (apparently) wants to rent so sell em a property. The idea really would be council houses for the 21st century.

I know it ain't perfect, far from it in fact but then I'm not a politician so I tend to look at things in black and white. (Probably get told off for that as well now).
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post Jun 8 2014, 01:15 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 01:59 PM) *
With low rise it's easier to provide things like space to park your car, gets rid of the stigma attached to the Mandela house syndrome. Also provides somewhere for mum to park the kids, gives wildlife a chance. No one (apparently) wants to rent so sell em a property. The idea really would be council houses for the 21st century. I know it ain't perfect, far from it in fact but then I'm not a politician so I tend to look at things in black and white. (Probably get told off for that as well now).


Problem there is that low rise is not low cost.

What I would like is for someone to tell me what a developer has to do to provide a low cost apartment.

He, for instance, wants to build an apartment block with 50 units. If he has to provide, let's save 5 as low cost, what will be the difference between the two types. Why should he sell a unit at a discount and what stops that unit reverting to a normal unit price when the low cost owner wants to move on.

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On the edge
post Jun 8 2014, 01:28 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 01:59 PM) *
With low rise it's easier to provide things like space to park your car, gets rid of the stigma attached to the Mandela house syndrome. Also provides somewhere for mum to park the kids, gives wildlife a chance. No one (apparently) wants to rent so sell em a property. The idea really would be council houses for the 21st century.

I know it ain't perfect, far from it in fact but then I'm not a politician so I tend to look at things in black and white. (Probably get told off for that as well now).


Simply because no one has taken a lead and explained things. In housing for instance,when the council rented three bed semis, with inside Wc and bath, were first erected, a good number gave up their tenancies because they much preferred the old inner city terraces!! Before Mrs T came along, the mantra was that no one wanted to live in a Council house because they carried such a stigma. Actually, against most of the private houses built at the time, the dwellings were quite lavish, but even today, there remains public perceptions about 'ex Council estates'. Do we really want to bring them back?

The scheme you suggest is really the shared ownership scheme, already operated by Public service Housing Associations. All quite laudable and will do ad you say, but again (rightly) the scheme isn't just the old one size fits all approach which so bedevilled local Councils.


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On the edge
post Jun 8 2014, 01:37 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 02:15 PM) *
Problem there is that low rise is not low cost.

What I would like is for someone to tell me what a developer has to do to provide a low cost apartment.

He, for instance, wants to build an apartment block with 50 units. If he has to provide, let's save 5 as low cost, what will be the difference between the two types. Why should he sell a unit at a discount and what stops that unit reverting to a normal unit price when the low cost owner wants to move on.


A perfect example to illustrate is the ex council student accommodation. In areas near universities, the family council house was purchased by Gran under the heavily discounted scheme, so she could afford it. The lads moved out when they had their own families and when gran died, divided her house into student rooms so the place ended up,housing more people than it was designed to do and giving 'the lads' a substantial almost protected income for very little input!

Who actually decides who qualifies for affordable housing? Or are we back to euphemism world, where what is actually meant is very different and it's really social housing? If so, and you are the Sales Manager, are you honestly going to properly support that?


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blackdog
post Jun 8 2014, 02:41 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 02:15 PM) *
Problem there is that low rise is not low cost.

What I would like is for someone to tell me what a developer has to do to provide a low cost apartment.

He, for instance, wants to build an apartment block with 50 units. If he has to provide, let's save 5 as low cost, what will be the difference between the two types. Why should he sell a unit at a discount and what stops that unit reverting to a normal unit price when the low cost owner wants to move on.

All a developer has to do is to build it and sell it at a lower than market price into the 'affordable' housing sector. Around here that generally means selling to Sovereign.

Tennants will have the right to buy, which will move some units from affordable to normal - to the benefit of the tenant who gets a discount depending on lenght of tenure. But that is planned for - the Thatcherite dream of everyone owning their own home is, supposedly, worth subsidising. Of course the housing association will get some funds from the sale and can use them to buy more 'affordable' homes on new developments.

The affordable housing quota on new developments is the only way that councils have to force developers to supply cut price homes - so it is important that developers cannot use the only viable excuse for not building them (that the development would be economically non-viable) without some form of proof. I don't blame NTC asking for proof - shame WBC didn't do so for Parkway. Developers shouldn't be allowed to drop affordable housing without giving the figures that demonstrate they can't afford it.

That said, WBC's requirement for a through road is a huge burden on the Sterling Cables development and is probably a fair exchange for the affordable housing requirement.

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Simon Kirby
post Jun 8 2014, 03:59 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Jun 8 2014, 12:24 PM) *
I know it will never happen but I would like to see councils building low rise truly affordable housing and providing the mortgages as well. Weed out profiteers and potential landlords, derive a profit from mortgage repayments and plough that into more housing.

Removes it from developers, benefits the whole community, solves the local housing crisis. I know it won't work but, wouldn't it be luvverly.

"Affordable Housing" is a misnomer, and at the end of the day it actually inflates house prices. Let developers build what the market want and let them sell at the price the market can afford. Simples.

The one bit of market regulation that I would bring back is a tight control on the ration of borrowing to mortgage; something like 2.5x income would be sensible. It would keep prices affordable and stop the feckless overreaching themselves with unaffordable debt that inflates the market for everyone else.

As for local authorities building council houses, I think that's an awful idea - our local government are useless enough, so I really don't want to give them even more stuff to nause up. However, the principle is right - so I'd like it to be much easier for people to get together to form a self-build housing cooperative, so there might be some scope for state support to help cooperatives like this form, and I like the idea of giving them the right to compulsory purchase sites for sustainable development at some kind of reasonable price.


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Exhausted
post Jun 8 2014, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 8 2014, 04:59 PM) *
As for local authorities building council houses, I think that's an awful idea - our local government are useless enough, so I really don't want to give them even more stuff to nause up. However, the principle is right - so I'd like it to be much easier for people to get together to form a self-build housing cooperative, so there might be some scope for state support to help cooperatives like this form, and I like the idea of giving them the right to compulsory purchase sites for sustainable development at some kind of reasonable price.


Well, in theory, don't we have that already with the charitable status Sovereign Housing. The development that is going on at the moment in Speen and Enborne Road is run by them as was the retirement homes in the Andover Road. They were gifted the council properties years ago and that is what they do so we no longer have council houses. Instead we have the posher named Sovereign houses.

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Andy Capp
post Jun 8 2014, 04:46 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 12:12 PM) *
Wrong. It has not been approved it was just given the green light by the toothless Town Council. It still has to go through the mill of the WBC planning.

As far as the euphemistic affordable housing, it is, in this case a burden on the developer to spend upwards of £6m before he does anything on the site. This includes getting rid of contamination and providing land and the effort to stick a road through that the highways department want, a new footpath in Kings Road and probably give land on the Eastern end so that the council can get a two way bridge in Boundary Road.

We have a severe shortage of affordable housing. If that cannot be addressed, then no, I say.

QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 12:12 PM) *
Equally, as far as the development profit is concerned, the architect was quite right to tell the Town Council to mind their own business when they asked how much profit was there. They are the last people to whinge about confidentiality clauses methinks. It so happens that the developer has agreed with the planning department that there will be an open book policy between themselves.

Whoopty do. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 12:12 PM) *
What that has got to do with ethnic cleansing I don't know.

A social class is being moved out of the town.
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Andy Capp
post Jun 8 2014, 04:52 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 8 2014, 04:59 PM) *
"Affordable Housing" is a misnomer, and at the end of the day it actually inflates house prices. Let developers build what the market want and let them sell at the price the market can afford. Simples.

The one bit of market regulation that I would bring back is a tight control on the ration of borrowing to mortgage; something like 2.5x income would be sensible. It would keep prices affordable and stop the feckless overreaching themselves with unaffordable debt that inflates the market for everyone else.

As for local authorities building council houses, I think that's an awful idea
- our local government are useless enough, so I really don't want to give them even more stuff to nause up. However, the principle is right - so I'd like it to be much easier for people to get together to form a self-build housing cooperative, so there might be some scope for state support to help cooperatives like this form, and I like the idea of giving them the right to compulsory purchase sites for sustainable development at some kind of reasonable price.

I've read enough to know that our politics are completely incompatible. I'd never vote for someone with your views, sorry.
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Simon Kirby
post Jun 8 2014, 05:28 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 8 2014, 05:38 PM) *
Well, in theory, don't we have that already with the charitable status Sovereign Housing. The development that is going on at the moment in Speen and Enborne Road is run by them as was the retirement homes in the Andover Road. They were gifted the council properties years ago and that is what they do so we no longer have council houses. Instead we have the posher named Sovereign houses.

No, that's not what I have in mind. I'm thinking much more of a cooperative collective, organising to help themselves. Sovereign serves a valid purpose and I'm not knocking their business model, but I would like people to be able to manage their own affairs where possible.

So for example, how about legislation to allow any cooperative of six or more private individuals to compulsorily buy land (which would probably have to pass some sustainability test) at some standard rate of £25k/acre with deemed planning consent for a development of some combination of standard sustainable designs with maybe some limit on the resale or rental value. It wouldn't exactly be a planning free-for-all because there would be some control over the standard designs.


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Simon Kirby
post Jun 8 2014, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jun 8 2014, 05:52 PM) *
I've read enough to know that our politics are completely incompatible. I'd never vote for someone with your views, sorry.

No problem, I'm just pleased you know my views. I hope you get the chance to know what other candidates think.


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nerc
post Jun 8 2014, 08:12 PM
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If the planning for Sterling Cables (ex site) gets full approval why should the developer have to supply affordable housing?.

As stated earlier in this thread the initial outlay prior to any development is going to be in the region of some 6m +.

This on its own is a substantial amount of money for such a small site and i think that the profit from the proposed development will not be as great as some may think, so why offer affordable properties.

In a nutshell, if you were the developer would you want to reduce your profits to provide just a few of affordable homes to please a minority amount of people.


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post Jun 8 2014, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 8 2014, 06:28 PM) *
No, that's not what I have in mind. I'm thinking much more of a cooperative collective, organising to help themselves. Sovereign serves a valid purpose and I'm not knocking their business model, but I would like people to be able to manage their own affairs where possible.

So for example, how about legislation to allow any cooperative of six or more private individuals to compulsorily buy land (which would probably have to pass some sustainability test) at some standard rate of £25k/acre with deemed planning consent for a development of some combination of standard sustainable designs with maybe some limit on the resale or rental value. It wouldn't exactly be a planning free-for-all because there would be some control over the standard designs.


It all stands and falls on the cost of land.

The original building society idea was just as you describe, but when it took off, land was significantly cheaper. Yes, some form of national control would help, but can you imagine what it would take to get that through? We are an aristocracy and land ownership is the key to their power.

The Bevan idea for Council Houses was one answer, his socialist approach was to make 'public housing' so good, only an idiot would want anything else. Sadly, management and control was vested in Local Authorities - you weren't even permitted to do internal decoration yourself back then! Imagine, living in a house where the decor is chosen by your favorite Councillors.....


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