Barlow's Beef: It's put-up or shut-up time

Before you decide how to use your vote please take a look at the above photos.
Does it make sense to destroy this ancient green field while leaving the brownfield eyesore to remain undeveloped?

Despite CEC's much acclaimed Brownfield-First policy this is what is happening in your neighbourhood right now. Your Conservative council insist large-scale house building has been foisted upon it by the Conservative lead coalition.
There is an urgent need for affordable starter homes they tell us by way of justification. So... take a look at any of the new developments in your area. Count the number of 'affordable starter homes' and you will see the fallacy of this theory.
Developers hate building starter homes and are now allowed to negotiate their way out of their obligation to do so.

Neither is their any time-frame attached to the erection of homes on these greenfield sites thus allowing builders to 'bank' the land and simply wait for prices to rise.

How will that resolve the starter-home shortage? Without a contractual commitment to complete work greenbelt sites will simply lose their status leaving developers to determine whether to build or force up house prices by withholding available land.

Meanwhile communities living with ugly brownfield sites must continue to do so enabling builders to simply ignore them in favour of open pasture.

There will be a lot of money made in this great greenbelt invasion:

In 2012 Ainscough Strategic Land purchased a 17-acre site in Tytherington, Macclesfield for £4.5M.

After eight months of negotiations they agreed a Section 106 Agreement with Cheshire East that secured planning permission for 162 houses and apartments.

In 2014 ASL sold the site to Redrow Homes for more than £13M.

What other 'investment do you know that trebled in two years?

It's perfectly legal and illustrates the money to be made when selling land with planning permission.

Is it any wonder the greenbelt is under such incredible pressure?

But it will do nothing for those struggling to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

Please don't take my word for it. Take a look at the current crop of developments and ask yourself how many affordable starter homes are actually being built?

There is a very good reason we are short of low cost family homes. Cheshire East sold off their entire housing stock at an average of £3600 per home. They created the shortage and now plan to rectify it by building 'affordable' homes. A cursory examination will illustrate it's never going to happen.

What will happen is developers will switch their focus from brownfield sites, which are costly to prepare, to open fields-which are not. Under the guise of helping first-time buyers they will build expensive detached four-bedroom 'executive' homes on the greenbelt.
If you like what you see going on around you please ignore the above.

If not then consider the alternatives. We have adequate history of those currently in power. We do not need more rhetoric we can see with our own eyes what has happened. We know those politicians who attended residents' meetings made sympathetic noises then voted against the community they served.

You must decide if you want more of the same. Whatever they say going into an election these politicians are highly unlikely to change their ways.
We have no excuses. This is YOUR moment.

Put-Up or Shut-Up.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Bob Bracegirdle
Tuesday 21st April 2015 at 1:52 pm
'Twas always thus. Same here in Leicestershire villages. Building on productive farmland here when we already cannot feed ourselves. Foolish, but profitable.