thirsty fish

March 2nd, 2006

The more I hear about the environmental situation regarding the ‘Thames Gateway’ redevelopment the more I wonder how the area is going to cope.

Even now we are hearing stories that this year there will be significant water shortages in SE England, never mind the additional demand of an extra million people and associated infrastructure. The lack of winter rainfall is undoubtedly a sign that a large amount of water is remaining in the sea (in addition to that being added by ice-cap melting) which can only worsen the situation of the areas being ‘planned’ on flood plains – we can at least rest assured that the insurance market will determine the value of such developments.

(Since I wrote that paragraph it has been reported that Kent Water will be allowed to compel residents to install water meters)

In addition to such concerns the utterly political excercise of producing a 60,000 house for ‘keyworkers’ is producing a number of lacklustre and shoddy designs for houses – the life expectancy of some of the cheaper ‘affordable homes’ is less than ten years (I am sure I read that a 30k home could be built but would have a 5 year lifespan), making the resale value negligible and not a sound investment by any means. If the government weren’t determined to tie developers to producing ownable homes rather than rented accommodation the quality of housing for key workers could be much improved.
Cheap, non-traditional housing types will have higher insurance premiums and probably more onerous mortgage requirements thus increasing the day to day costs for workers rather than reducing them. In addition to utility, transport and taxation costs rising above the rate of inflation.

Additionally the short term succouring of the demand for more key workers in the SE will just further increase demand down the line, it would be better to let individuals decide whether they can afford to live in the SE/London with expensive services or decamp north/westwards where the price of living is generally lower.

I could go on, and probably will in another post. (Can we have a Cassandra category?)

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