Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Why are we more crap now?

The other day I went along to a meeting at Camden Town Hall, I'm not entirely sure who organised it, or associated websites, I just scribbled notes of anything interesting I heard until I was told to stop.

The backstory is that Camden Council are currently trying to sell off some of its housing stock, whilst at the same time some groups are demanding that the council stop the selling off and build more council housing. A lot of the current housing stock is uninhabitable and needs repairs and upgrading.

An interesting thing that I scribbled was:-
Last year the council only just managed to repair and renovate 100 properties, whilst in the 1930s they were able to build 600 new properties from scratch in a year.
How can this be so?

Are we not wealthier and more skilled now?

Here's a pie chart I've knocked up, I've made up all the proportions myself.

I think I could be in the minority of people at the meeting in how I think the various factors are significant. Everyone was right, but how you divvy up the various factors is different.

For one, although building new houses costs money, Camden has a surplus of £80 million, and have neatly demonstrated that they're capable of spending it on hiring assistant directors with overblown salaries. I don't think that campaigning for more money to be extracted from taxpayers will be very significant in helping bring about the end result of more newly built council houses.

I think the biggest stumbling block now, compared to the 1930s, is planning permissions and health and safety and accessability regulations. They take up a load of time and effort and lawyers and experts on paperwork, before anything actually happens.

Sure, if the 'Political will' issue is resolved, somehow a whole raft of pro-house building councillors are elected, then they could ride rough shod over any planning restrictions and legalities, and reassign money from other areas of the council, but it's a difficult one to tackle. You gotta convince people to change their minds, to vote for other candidates than whoever they usually do.

No comments:

Post a Comment