The government has just announced that it is going to reduce red tape and allow buildings such as loft conversions, extensions and conservatories to be built without planning permission. Oh, boy, that is a recipe for starting a civil war. Just think about the hatred some neighbours harbour towards each other, this could be the start of an "arms race" as one neighbour tries to out build the other in constructing loft conversions which will block out the sun from nextdoors veggie patch while nextdoor erects a conservatory which will interrupt the enemies view from their bathroom window. Planning regulations are there for very sound reasons and rather than this being a measure to kick start the economy (how can a temporary relaxation of the regulations make any improvement to our failing economy?) to me it reeks of a favour to some little crony of Cameron who has been refused permission to build a two storey extension to their duck house and this will allow them to extend their moat without their local parish interfering.
There are thousands of houses and flats standing empty, boarded up, unused and mouldering away which could be made fit for purpose, thereby giving work to local builders and the associated trades which would bring money into the local economy. This could be funded through grants to housing associations, the money coming from the banks which we, the people own, or if the banks still refuse to lend or distribute the grants use credit unions and local government.
Again and again I have written about this issue, in my book "Days of Thrift" and in various blogs and every time I have come to the same conclusion that there is no need to build on green belt land, there are huge areas of brown field sites on which to erect affordable housing, just waive the building tax for a period of 10 years on construction that utilises brown fields and you would see the building industry blossom and the families and single people who have been on waiting lists for years waiting for a home while living in cramped squalor in bed and breakfasts and hostels would have homes and new purpose in their lives. The rents from these homes could be used to fund the next wave of house building. I don't have a degree in economics or town planning but to me its "simples". When I walk down my High Street I see boarded up shops and flats, the only shops trading are pawn brokers, charity shops and betting shops. All those empty properties could be refurbished at very little cost compared to building new houses in the green belt because the infrastructure is already in place i.e roads, schools etc. and by having a mixture of residential properties, micro businesses, green technologies and workshops communities would be rebuilt where everyone had a stake in their neighbourhood and felt proud of living there.
Having a place to live isn't a luxury which is only conferred on a fortunate few it is a human right not something to be played with by politicians who have never wanted for anything and think a loft conversion will solve the countries problems.