Remember when politicians trumpeted high-rise tower blocks as the solution to Britain's housing problem?
You may have been part of one of those communities bulldozed to accommodate a cluster of skyscrapers. Perhaps you were one of those people wondering what would happen when the elevators failed or antisocial tenants wrecked the building?
If so your protests were swept aside by the political elite as the ramblings of a Luddite. Concerns expressed by young mums and the elderly regarding access and isolation were of no concern compared to the 'Big Picture' seen exclusively by politicians. Their 'vision' of the future trumped all dissent. Communities disappeared overnight as the wrecking ball swung from town to town.
Well, we all know the end of that story. Before the paint dried on the first tower the fallacy of their doctrine began to show. Isolation drove some to suicide. Stinking communal balconies, arson and vandalised lifts drove out proud homeowners leaving gangs of thugs to intimidate those who remained.
The public's worst fears were exceeded and successive governments had no option but to eradicate both the buildings and the policy. It was a social catastrophe.
Wind forward to 2015. Regardless of public opinion the sanctity of the greenbelt is no more. Ugly brownfield sites will remain untouched while bulldozers invade virgin land.
Does that sound like a sensible sustainable policy? No it does not, unless you are a developer exploiting the current dogma. It's simply the latest political doctrine forced upon a protesting public.
Can anyone defend the policy of invading the greenbelt BEFORE utilising every available brownfield site? If governments can compulsory purchases homes surely they can compulsory purchase ugly brownfield sites?
But no such policy exists. Similarly greenbelt purchased for development may be 'banked' for years easing the so-called housing crisis not one iota.
Politicians claim Britain has an urgent need for affordable homes. (Considering the haste with which councils sold their housing stock is it any wonder?)
A cursory look at any new housing development in your area will give the lie to that particular theory. Builders hate erecting affordable homes and will do anything to minimize their commitment. Politicians simply do not have the will to enforce it. As long they can claim house building (whatever and wherever it is) on the increase they will claim success.
First time buyers and those on minimum wage will gain very little from this Build it and They Will Come policy but for developers it will be a gold rush the likes of which lay beyond their dreams.
The problem is ... unlike the tower-block fiasco of the 70's this policy is irreversible. Once you invade the greenbelt you can't re-lay the turf. When a copse or meadow disappears it's gone for good. It can never be recreated.
For some local communities this policy will be a disaster the effects of which will remain long after politicians and profiteers have moved on.
Trees, ponds, fields and wildlife will disappear while hideous brownfield sites remain.
How will you explain this to your grandchildren?
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of alderleyedge.com.
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""Can anyone defend the policy of invading the greenbelt BEFORE utilising every available brownfield site? If governments can compulsory purchases homes surely they can compulsory purchase ugly brownfield sites?
But no such policy exists. Similarly greenbelt purchased for development may be 'banked' for years easing the so-called housing crisis not one iota............