We shall not be producing blogs for a while due to holidays – a trip to warmer climes perhaps!


The impact of more houses for Cornwall

If the Government gets its way (and it probably will) Cornwall will probably see more allocations and permissions granted for housing. Developers may be forced/encouraged to use some of their permissions to build houses.

Now as we know none of these extra houses will be required to meet housing need, and as the issue is not one of supply but earnings, welfare changes etc, will not help anyone who wants an affordable property.

So what will happen to the extra houses?

Unlike some areas developers know there is a market (which they themselves foster and create) for those wanting to move to Cornwall for lifestyle reasons (a quieter slower pace of life, less traffic – they are in for a surprise!); to have a second home; a property to use as a holiday rental (lots of dosh); and a property for an investment.

You can bet that developers, estate agents and associated groups will be working hard to market those extra houses, oh and if you do want an affordable house to live in, forget it!

Policy makers fiddling the figures and not providing adequate housing!

The people with the least to gain from the policy makers obsession with house building are those wanting and needing better housing. By not dealing with the real issues – the maldistribution of housing, the lack of security for private tenants, and the lack of social housing; the plight of those wanting a more secure future will not improve and possibly get worse.

If policy makers were serious about housing they would:

Provide more social housing;
Improve the rights of private tenants;
Restrict house ownership to residents, rather than those buying for second homes, holiday lets and investment purposes;
Limit the capital gains of movers from high house price to lower price areas;
Stop welfare changes which punish the poor;
Create a more equitable tax system.

The busy BiSINEBs!

Whenever you turn on the TV or radio and there is a ‘discussion’ about housing you can be sure a BiSINEB will be there to propagate their point of view. BiSINEBs are busy people, always ready to make sure their opinions are heard. Its a wonder why they bother as the media and Government agree with them anyway.

So one question is why do they make such an effort?

It could be because deep down they know that their views are not widely held, that many people are sceptical about the need for more housing. The population are distrustful of experts and the elite. Also BiSINEBs may realise that their so-called expertise is essentially a means of justifying thier own activities.

[BiSINEBs (Biased Self Interested Not Evidence Based)]

BiSINEBs speak out!

Whenever the Government draw up plans for even more (unneeded) housing, you can be sure a BiSINEB can be found to support the plans.

Last week Russell Dodge (of Business Location Services Ltd) came out attacking the planning system.

The planning system is broken and a decision to punish local councils if they don’t make sure more homes are built will make things worse, a planning expert has claimed after the Government announced a shake-up of planning rules. Russell Dodge, a chartered architect with 40 years’ experience and the managing director of Business Location Services in Truro, believes proposed plans by Whitehall to “cane local council” for not meeting their housing targets, and “cane” developers too with increased rules, regulations and a prohibitive planning cost, will make things worse.
“I’ve been living and breathing planning for the past 40 years and I can tell you that it has become a nightmare,” he said. “The whole planning system is broken. Every time the Government plays with the system they break it even more.”
Mr Dodge believed the planning system has been made more complicated than it ought to be because, while there is a national planning framework and local planning system in place, the neighbourhood development plans, introduced by the Conservative-led Coalition in 2011 as part of the Localism Act, have given ‘nimbys’ (Not In My Backyard) far too much power. The Housing Secretary Javid Sajid has warned councils their housing planning powers could be taken away from them if they don’t meet their housing targets. “Cornwall Council is trying to free up land to make it easier to meet its housing target but the nimby factor is using the neighbourhood plans to stop developments,” Mr Dodge added. “You can’t give Cornwall Council a caning for not meeting its target when neighbourhood plans are being used to stop developments.

It is unsurprising that a developer wants more development so should we take any notice of their views? Probably not. The evidence is that the planning system makes it very easy for developers to get permissions (just look around Cornwall); and at the same time the evidence from those who have examined the figures is that we dont need extra houses anyway!

But never mind, the BiSINEBs (Biased Self Interested Not Evidence Based) will always pop up and make thier views known!

And contrary to Mr Dodges views, the so called NIMBYs are right, we don’t need the extra development!

For information:

BLS specialises in the following key areas of project delivery:-

Industrial and Office Development
Urban and Rural Regeneration
Residential Development and Affordable Housing
Hotel and Leisure Redevelopment
Waste Planning and Renewable Energy

Property Consultancy

BLS provides a comprehensive property consultancy service in conjunction with its associate company BLS Estates to include:-

Land, Property Sales and Marketing
Lettings/Property Management
Land/Property Acquisition and Site Assembly

Using the right figures turns a housing shortfall into a surplus!

In a blog in December Ian Mulheirn points out why a report from the CPS (in common with many others) is wrong.

MP Chris Philp has penned a monograph for the Centre for Policy Studies on what’s behind the housing crisis. You guessed it, he concludes it’s a lack of supply. It’s a clearly-argued piece, drawing on many of the same data sources as various recent parliamentary reports and the housing white paper from earlier this year.

According to the CPS … the cumulative shortfall in dwellings since 2000. London, it’s claimed, has faced an undersupply of 343,000 units! The UK’s shortfall is put at 700,000 houses. … in fact, London added 74,000 more homes than households, and the UK as a whole 365,000 more homes than households (up to 2016).

View story at

What a surprise if you use the wrong data you get the wrong results!

The reality of more house building not the delusion!

In the real world the Governments push for more and more house building will not solve the problem the Government percieve to be the problem as they do not understand the basic issue – its not supply of housing that is the issue!

Moving from the delusional world that policy makers inhabit into the real world what will happen if more houses are built?

Lets say that developers ramp up building to 250,000 a year, about 80,000 more than required.

If the current rules on mortgages for first time buyers apply it will be difficult to sell to new buyers. The alternative is that houses are bought by those with the resources and then added to the private rental market. Some people might (if they can afford the rent) move from other rented property, which begs the question what happens to the empty houses?

Developers will be looking for ways to sell their excess housing stock – in some areas this will be easier than others. For example in London there is always the luxury market for foreign investors. In areas like Cornwall they will market even more homes to encourage people to move to the area or buy a second or holiday home.

But all these extra houses will be of little use to people looking for cheaper rents or mortgages.

In the most extreme cases we hear of the issue of more rough sleepers. Now its a little incredulous to think that the problem rough sleepers have is due to a lack of housing. All the evidence points to cuts in welfare, benefit sanctions and insecurity of tenure in the private rented sector as being significant issues here.

Government ministers need to stop reading the Noddy guide to housing and get real by looking at the evidence and coming up with some sensible policy proposals.