John Prescott is going to destroy large areas of England with new homes, even though more than 700,000 properties — enough to meet housing needs for the next four years — lie vacant. Rod Liddle urges conservatives to resist the terror
According to our government, there is a shortage of affordable housing in this country, and particularly in the south of England. As a result the government, in the redoubtable, if humorous, figure of John Prescott, intends to build hundreds of thousands of new houses every year in order to meet this perceived ‘demand’. Soon, everywhere you look south of the Wash there will be a profusion of stark naked Barratt estates, each consisting of 200 homes, every dwelling of which will — by law — possess a disabled-access ramp and — by dint of fashion — a covered car port and eight square yards of lawn. Chav City cometh, every eight miles.
If this is an exaggeration, it is not much of one. Mr Prescott has already identified four areas where he will bung in most of the houses — the Thames ‘gateway’; around Ashford in Kent; a square of Northamptonshire near Milton Keynes; and a soon-to-be-benighted area which will henceforth be known as the A11 Conurbation (sounds lovely, doesn’t it?), stretching north for 60 miles from London to Peterborough.
But that’s not all. The government has also accepted en bloc the recommendations of the Barker review final report, which swallows whole the absurd — and elsewhere discredited — notion of ‘predict and provide’ and recommends, among other things, a loosening or ‘greater flexibility’ of planning constraints. These ‘constraints’ are in fact the locally considered responses to proposed new developments, which have hitherto prevented hideous new bungalows being built in your neighbour’s back garden. Kate Barker recommends that such localised, selfish nimbyism be ignored and the bungalows built regardless of local opposition.