Cornish beaches the most littered in the UK

The following extract from the Cornish Resouces pages is an inditement of peoples attitudes to the environment. There is an odd mix of attitudes and habits – a wanton disregard by dumping litter all over the place and at the same time the view that ‘tidying’ things up by mowing, trimming and vandalising the environment.

The article looks at litter on beaches.

A recent academic article has discovered that beaches in Cornwall are among the most litter-strewn in the UK. Using beach clean data going back 25 years, they found those beaches bordering Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the Land’s End, Mount’s Bay, Padstow Bay and Newquay & the Gannel were among the ten most polluted in the UK, with levels of litter second only to the Thames estuary.

Almost 70 per cent of the litter picked up was plastic, while, of the litter that could be sourced, over half came from the public discarding items, a fifth was from fishing activity and the rest from sewage and shipping. Meanwhile, eight of the ten MPAs with the highest levels of plastic litter were found in Cornwall. In addition to those mentioned above, this included Hartland Point to Tintagel and Lizard Point.

Crantock beach in July this year

These findings, coming as they do after other similar research, should start ringing alarm bells about the capacity of the Cornish environment to cope with an ever-growing residential population in addition to the millions of tourists who descend on our beaches every year. Many – both locals and visitors – seem incapable of understanding what ‘take your rubbish home’ means.

If you want to get informed about housing then read what Ian Mulheirn has said!

During the debate on planning and house building on 8th October, there was no mention by MPs of the flawed target for house building. Ian Mulheirn has produced papers and blogged about house building for some time, pointing out that supply is not the problem and that rising rents and house prices do not reflect a shortage of supply.

https://institute.global/policy/tackling-uk-housing-crisis-supply-answer-summary

Yet MPs seemed oblivious to all of this, stuck with repeating the mantra of ‘we must build more houses’. Why have we reached such a dismal state of affairs where evidence is not only not acted upon but ignored?

Policy making needs to be evidence based, not on whims, speculation and woeful ignorance!

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-08/debates/2496DD54-7CE6-4393-B8E0-477A7084D8FD/PlanningAndHouseBuilding

[This blog has used evidence from Ian Mulheirns work to argue the case for lower house building levels in Cornwall.]

Why do MPs ignore Ian Mulheirn?

During the debate on planning and house building on 8th October, there was no mention by MPs of the flawed target for house building. Ian Mulheirn has produced papers and blogged about house building for some time, pointing out that supply is not the problem and that rising rents and house prices do not reflect a shortage of supply.

https://institute.global/policy/tackling-uk-housing-crisis-supply-answer-summary

Yet MPs seemed oblivious to all of this, stuck with repeating the mantra of ‘we must build more houses’. Why have we reached such a dismal state of affairs where evidence is not only not acted upon but ignored?

Policy making needs to be evidence based, not on whims, speculation and woeful ignorance!

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-08/debates/2496DD54-7CE6-4393-B8E0-477A7084D8FD/PlanningAndHouseBuilding

[This blog has used evidence from Ian Mulheirns work to argue the case for lower house building levels in Cornwall.]

Bodmin birth rate booms!

From the number of new houses getting permission around Bodmin, you might think that the birth rate is soaring creating a need for new housing. But you would be totally incorrect. The new houses are not to meet local need but to encourage people to move to Cornwall.

There was a view many years ago that a population boom led by high levels of in-migration would boost the economy. That assertion has little evidence to support it.

[Perhaps the

Bernard Deacon@bernarddeacon·

Yet more (170) houses planned for Bodmin, only 30% of which will be so-called ‘affordable’. The birth rate in Bodmin must be incredibly high. Oh, it isn’t.

Land banking is not the problem!

On the face of it, Siobhain McDonagh’s point is a plausible one. Yet in reality it is not. The main reason why developers land bank is to maintain their own business and out compete other developers. A developer with a portfolio of sites with planning permission knows that they have a ready supply of sites to develop in the future and are not reliant on buying land on an ad hoc basis.

Developers know the absorption rate of the area where they have land to develop and will not build more than they can sell!

Siobhain McDonagh we must deal with land bankers. In 2019, the FTSE 100 house building companies were sitting on a land bank of more than 300,000 plots between them. If we add in the rest—the FTSE 350 house building companies—then the collective land bank was a staggering 470,068 plots. Yet they completed just 86,685 homes in the previous year. Where is the punitive or preventive action on land banking?

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-10-08/debates/2496DD54-7CE6-4393-B8E0-477A7084D8FD/PlanningAndHouseBuilding

Scott Mann – needs to know what happens in his constituency on housing!

In the debate about housing and planning on the 8th October, Scott Mann the MP for North Cornwall made a contribution, part of which is below. What is worrying is his perception of the planning system. Anyone in Cornwall who thinks that land has not come forward for housing is out of touch with the real world. Cornwall has one of the highest build rates in the country.

Mr Mann seems oblivious to the factors leading to people being ‘stuck in the rental trap’ – namely unsustainable population growth derived from people moving to Cornwall and the high levels of second home ownership. If he had checked he would have found out that in 2011, 16% of dwellings in his constituency did not have a resident living there, indicative of being a holiday home or let.

Mr Manns solution appears to be self-build! A reality check would be more useful!

I recognise that the building of homes is one of the biggest domestic issues facing our country. I am unashamedly pro home ownership. A large contingent of people in my constituency are stuck in the rental trap, and I want to be able to provide them with the opportunities that many other people in the UK already enjoy. So although there is a legitimate debate to be had about housing numbers, the much wider issue is about the tenure of those homes and where they are built.

For years, we have seen a planning system that has been far too rigid, a lack of adequate and appropriate land coming forward, and huge disparities in the way applications are being considered, not only between different authorities, but within individual planning departments. We have to recognise the inadequacies of the current system. Houses being built predominantly by large house builders puts huge pressure on local services immediately. At the moment, there is little involvement for small and medium-sized builders in the planning system. We are faced with constant section 106 delays, which help no one and delay the building of ​affordable housing. We also have to wait a long time for infrastructure because we have no community infrastructure levy to provide some of that support.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-08/debates/2496DD54-7CE6-4393-B8E0-477A7084D8FD/PlanningAndHouseBuilding

MPs discuss the unnecessary housing proposals – but miss the point!

MPs held a short debate about the Government’s proposals for planning and housing targets. Much was made of the flaws in the proposals and the potential impact on local areas, yet there was nothing about the overall target and why it is in itself incorrect.

We do not need to build 200,000 houses, let along 300,000 houses. That is way above actual need.

To argue their case, MPs need to read and digest Ian Mulheirns’ analysis of the issue.

Planning and House Building debate 8th October

the danger in the way the new targets have been shaped is that the biggest housing increases will be in rural shires and suburbs, and the biggest falls will be in the urban north and midlands. The worst of all worlds would be to hollow out our cities, urbanise our suburbs and suburbanise the countryside, yet I fear that that is what we might accidentally achieve. That is not levelling up; it is concreting out, hence this debate.

These certainly do bring many disparate expert practitioners to the same conclusion. The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects says that

“these shameful proposals do almost nothing to guarantee the delivery of affordable, well-designed and sustainable homes… they could also lead to the creation of the next generation of slum housing.”

The Campaign to Protect Rural England says that the

“acid test for the planning reforms is community involvement and on first reading, it’s still not clear how this will work under a zoning system.”

The Mayor of London says that it

“will be a disaster for London and will ride roughshod over communities and locally elected representatives. It will mean fewer social and affordable homes being built every year, poorer quality housing and local people left with out-of-place buildings and no opportunity to have their say.”​

Shelter says:

Section 106 agreements between developers and councils are tragically one of the only ways we get social homes built these days, due to a lack of direct government investment. So, it makes no sense to remove this route to genuinely affordable homes”.

Is anyone happy? Yes, developers are happy because it slays their opponents—the provision of affordable housing and local democracy

For the full debate:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-08/debates/2496DD54-7CE6-4393-B8E0-477A7084D8FD/PlanningAndHouseBuilding

More unsustainable housing at Roche!

With permission granted for another 150 houses the unnecessary house building continues. Not only has this house building nothing to do with meeting local need but with a climate emergency expanding the population through house building is a no no!

Why developers don’t and won’t build more houses!

Commentators and politicians (and a lot of policy makers), look at the numbers of houses built in England each year and then compare the figure to the oft quoted but incorrect target of 300,000 houses and discover that the number of dwellings built consistently runs below the target.

The question then asked is why? The answer is in fact quite simple.

Developers will only build enough houses each year – the “build-out” rate, to satisfy what they consider to be the demand for the properties. This is the number of houses that can be built and absorbed by the market – the “market absorption rate”. Building any more than this and the additional houses will not be sold. It is argued that they could reduce the price, but there are two problems here.

Firstly, if the price is reduced too much then this could erode the profit which as with any other business, the developer needs. If the price were lower this could encourage buyers but this might simply transfer buyers from one local market to another, with the result that there will be additional houses available but which are not required.

So building houses too quickly could result in empty houses!

What are the issues around this and implications?

To sell the additional houses developers might devote more on advertising the houses – but this could lead to people moving from another part of the country without meeting any local need. But overall, the problem would be a surplus of housing, which is what we have at the moment with more houses than households. Paradoxically, we could still end up with people needed houses, which could not be met by the current ‘market’ based approach.

There are some other important issues to consider. Developers will prefer to meet the demand for those houses which will provide the best returns. If they think that luxury houses fulfill this criterion then that is what they will build. If they think that a certain type of house will be suitable for people who would consider moving to the area for lifestyle reasons, then they will build that type of house.

The essential problem with the current housing market is not that developers do not build enough houses, it is that they build the wrong type and often for the wrong potential purchaser!

A revamp of the planning system is needed which specifies the type of housing developers can build, with restrictions on building luxury houses.

But there are other policy requirements:

The direct provision of houses by housing associations;

Restrictions on the purchase of second homes and holiday lets;

Increases in income tax to reduce the levels of funds available to high earners!

Housing boom? for the wealthy!

Looking at headline figures is often misleading. You might think that the ‘boom’ in housing is a general phenomenum but its not as the extract below suggests.

What these overall trends don’t tell us is what is happening to the second home and holiday lets market. Are more wealthy households opting to purchase houses which they can use as a holiday home or a permanent residence?

The implications for Cornwall would be negative which is why there is a need for legislation on second homes and holiday lets!

The current boom appears to be a mix of sales delayed by lockdown and a massive reassessment among buyers in the value of location versus space. While the first factor (delays) is significant, it will inevitable diminish in the months ahead, as they manage to buy or realise they can’t. It is therefore the second factor that is more interesting to consider. There is emerging evidence from Rightmove (pdf) that the south of England has seen the biggest bounce-back in sales agreed. Meanwhile Zoopla are reporting that wealthier demographics are driving sales and there is higher demand from home movers (pdf) than first time buyers. This suggests the current boom is being propelled by buyers for whom the biggest impact of the pandemic has been to make them realise they want a garden, home office or can work from home more regularly. And the stamp duty holiday has encouraged some of those who weren’t fully convinced of moving.