An Historian Should Know This

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But then this isn’t history, this is propaganda:

We have had housing crises before and through much of the last century state-directed action was taken to address them. The problem was never comprehensively solved, but homes were built and lives transformed. Between 1921 and 1922, 110,000 new houses were built in the UK. These were some of the homes “fit for heroes” that had been promised by prime minister David Lloyd George at the end of the First World War.

On the eve of another war, Britain was still working to meet the promises of 1918, but by 1939 more than 700,000 houses had been built. When that second conflict was over construction picked up where it had left off. By 1949, the number of new homes being built each year in Britain had reached 168,780. From then on, until 1978, more than 100,000 new council homes were built each year.

We know it’s propaganda because:

David Olusoga is a historian and broadcaster

So, how many houses were built in those interwar years? Rather more than listed there, because he’s deliberately left out the private sector. That private sector, in the 30s, getting that total well over 300,000 a year. Why did the private sector do so well then? Because we didn’t have the restrictions on who may build what, where. That is, we didn’t have the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and successors. Abolish hem and we’d quickly get back to the good old days, where copious housing that people wanted to live in was built where people wanted to live. At a price they wanted to pay too.

Our housing problem is too much state.

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Jim
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Jim

“That is, we didn’t have the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and successors. Abolish hem and we’d quickly get back to the good old days, where copious housing that people wanted to live in was built where people wanted to live. At a price they wanted to pay too.” No we wouldn’t. We’d have a complete disaster. The population of the UK in the 1930s was 45m, and that was spread far wider across the UK, due to the industrial work that used to go on in the North, Wales etc. Now we have maybe 75m (if you include… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

Thanks, the best straw man I’ve read today.

Spike
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Spike

Indeed, the dreaded “free-for-all”! Jim’s “modern” planning law may see dozens of (nuanced) technical issues to study before building a house, but the bottom line is still, “Can I build houses here?” and the answer is still political, as the political system always acts politically.

Jim
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Jim

“Jim’s “modern” planning law may see dozens of (nuanced) technical issues to study before building a house, but the bottom line is still, “Can I build houses here?”” The two are largely one and the same thing today. Every local authority is legally tasked with identifying areas within its boundaries to accommodate new developments, to the tune of thousands of houses in each LA. Pick a LA at random and google ‘LA Name Local Plan’ and you’ll get all the areas that are already completely OK to build houses on in that area. The State has said ‘Build them here!’… Read more »

jgh
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jgh

On the contrary, 1930s housing was more-or-less the first to be built with mains gas, electric, water and sewerage built in from the start. That was one of the things that made it so attractive to purchasers, brand new house With Modern Amenities. The Edwardian housing expansion was probably the last to not have the full four utilities pre-installed, as electricity not having really taken off then; and it was the 1960s before a pre-installed landline became standard.

Esteban
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Esteban

Ah yes, the old “we can’t let people run around & do what they want” excuse. This assumes that a private home builder can put up a bunch of houses that will be awful to live in due to traffic, lack of green space, etc. and people will but them anyway. Hmm, seems to me that every time I’ve ever bought a home we checked out the extended neighborhood pretty thoroughly. “This is a lovely house, what a shame that the neighborhood sucks because they overbuilt it horribly. Oh well, let’s buy it anyway.” We have a bit of this… Read more »

Jim
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Jim

Thats fine, you do all your research, lovely neighbourhood, great amenities, buy your house, then someone slaps up 500 houses just round the corner and the area goes to pot because the roads can’t take it, the local school is chocka, the sewers keep backing up and the electric keeps tripping out because the supply isn’t sufficient.

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

The developer round the corner thinking of slapping up 500 houses isn’t going to get many customers. Because people incoming don’t want to buy houses with roads that can’t take it, schools that are full and backed up sewers. So the development doesn’t happen in the repealed TCPA future imagined by our host.
Ah, you might say that some additional development would still happen up to that point where the road use gets maximised, the schools full, and the sewers just capable of shifting that last family’s excrement to the purification works – isn’t that resources being optimised?

Jim
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Jim

Whats more likely is there would always be an incentive by developers to try and get a few more houses crammed into the existing infrastructure to the point where it just about functions when everything is OK, but goes horribly wrong when something extreme happens. Or even for them to take advantage of the principle that as fluids flow down hill not up, someone can build a house at the top of the hill and if it causes the sewerage system to overflow it’ll be the existing houses lower down who suffer, not their new houses, or their buyers.

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

Testable assertion: let’s go back to the 1930s before the TCPA was enacted nationally – how many properties built then experienced these conditions ( which even then are outliers based on your thoughts )?
Most developments don’t leave plots upstream available to other developers which will leave sewerage issues such as what you describe.
And developers would not try to cram a few more houses in which may not attract buyers at the same price point ( as you say, the cram point is being approached here) when there is a free market in what you can do with land.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

“Abolish hem.” Good idea. And why not abolish “haw” too?

Spike
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Spike

Life has gone to hell since the sub-editors unionized

jgh
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jgh

Yes, they must be re-ionized. Rub them vigorously with a jumper. 😉