So the Sunday Telegraph – on a weekend where the world’s leaders have failed to find an agreement to deal with climate change, thousands of people are left stuck in the Channel Tunnel and, worst of all for this fan, Man Utd lost again – chooses to lead with a story rehashing old stereotypes about ‘developers grabbing our cherished gardens to build houses.’
As someone who accounts for 1 of the apparently 230 new houses built in Wyre Forest Council’s patch on former gardens since 2003, let me say first of all that the piece (you can read it here) is a pretty shameful attempt to publicise Tory planning policy ahead of the next election.
If you want a quick appraisal of Tory planning policy, it appears to be thus: “No new homes, anywhere near you.” So their planning spokesperson, Bob Neil, claims that thousands of leafy gardens are being dug up, etc, etc. I rather doubt he’ll be offering the alternative option, which is to build more homes in the countryside.
Self-builders don’t build new homes on gardens because they desperately want to, in large part. It’s because, thanks to the NIMBYism that this piece and others like it serves to exacerbate, there really is nowhere else to turn if you want to build a new home in this country.
And, if I may say so, until the debate becomes a little more grown-up, we’re going to be stuck for plots for a long time to come.