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Tom Bolton
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Alan, thank you for your strongly argued response. We differ on your central argument: that rising house prices are not caused by a restricted supply of housing. There was of course a house price bubble, but this is surely only part of the story. Between 1995 and 2011 average house prices rose by 160%, according to the Land Registry, part of a much long-term upward trend which has seen house prices far outstrip inflation. As our 2010 Grand Designs? report showed, mean house prices are significantly higher in the cities that have grown the most over the last 35 years, than in those which have experienced declining populations. However, the Centre for Cities has not suggested that either greenfield or greenbelt land should be made ‘freely available’, nor does it support car dependent development. Instead, we argue that to prevent houses from becoming even less affordable in growing cities, policies need to allow development where demand is actually located. For these cities it seems unlikely that they will be able to expand within their existing footprint. However, responding to the pressures on land in these cities would not necessarily require the entire greenbelt to be opened up. Equally, greening over land in areas where demand for industrial space or housing has decreased is a solution that should be taken more seriously. Either way, local councils should be free to decide on the course of action that’s best for their area, but are currently prevented from doing so.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2011 on Planning for growth at Centre for Cities
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Mar 24, 2011