Barlow's Beef: Greed is the word is the word..


So what do you wish for in the coming year? New house, better job, lottery win?

Personally I'm hoping to see some reflection on to the constant striving for MORE. More development, more houses, more taxation, more regulation, more, more greed, more money.

Both local and national government seem unable to survive without a constant increase in revenue. That increase comes at a price and that price is usually paid by our quality of life.

Will a train that gets you to London a bit faster (providing you live close enough to a hub) really be worth the destruction of our ever-diminishing countryside?

We were sold on the policy of invading the Green Belt on the clear need for affordable homes. Has that REALLY benefitted anyone but landowners and wealthy developers? Is it not ironic that during this great land grab we have had the lowest number of affordable homes built for 24 years?

Politicians always need more, more development, more people, more money more, more, more.

The work-life balance has become an empty slogan that has no more meaning than Brownfield First or The Big Society. They're just meaningless sound bites created to hoodwink a gullible public.

We are a small island with a finite amount of open space. We need to recognise this before we become a totally urban society. Is that what we want for our children and grandchildren?

It won't matter to the developers and land agents they won't be here. Check out where many of them currently reside - you won't find too many of them in the UK.

Maybe it's time we learned to live with the resources we have. We are obviously going to be forced to do it at some point. Do we wait until we have nothing left?

Of course we need hospitals, shops, houses, roads, schools, transport etc but in many cases we appear to be building them to ATTRACT population growth rather than to meet the needs of existing communities.

Can't we at least stop and think about it before it's too late?

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.

Ivan Brocklehurst
Tuesday 27th December 2016 at 6:29 pm
Once again, Vic Barlow speaks a lot of common sense. It's a pity there are no longer enough of us around with any. Common sense, that is.
Vince Chadwick
Wednesday 28th December 2016 at 4:15 pm
"Will a train that gets you to London a bit faster (providing you live close enough to a hub) really be worth the destruction of our ever-diminishing countryside?"

Vic, you continue to peddle misunderstandings about HS2. It is not being built as some sort of expensive elite addition to our railway to speed expense-account executives to the capital. It is about providing essential extra north - south rail capacity. Essential because the West Coast Main Line (WCML) is approaching maximum capacity now, never mind in 20 years time when HS2 will hopefully be in place. The demand for train travel continues its unabated rise; it's currently carrying almost three times the traffic carried since privatisation with all indications predicting growth way beyond current capacity.

Transferring the bulk of long distance passenger traffic to the HS2 spine will free up a great deal of capacity on the WCML for local services, and allow much needed paths for freight, another fast-growing area currently hampered by insufficient capacity and leading to ever more HGVs on our overcrowded roads.

In Cheshire HS2 will follow the M6 / M56 corridor so the environmental impact will be minimal.

Nearly 200 years ago men of vision overcame the naysayers (and there were plenty of them!) and built our rail system. They did a remarkable job, but if the likes of you, Vic, had prevailed against those and other transport advances we'd still be reliant on the horse.

That Victorian rail infrastructure originally designed for slow and lightweight early steam trains is what we use today. It was over-engineered which is why we've largely got away with it for so long, but it's well overdue for an upgrade, as has been happening for many decades in most of the rest of the developed world. We live in a globalised society, and it's the rest of the world who are our markets and our competition.

By all means question destruction of green belt while brownfield goes undeveloped, and the spread of innappropriate building development. But please don't throw the baby of much needed transport infrastructure improvement out with the bath water of developer greed.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 28th December 2016 at 5:29 pm
I totally agree with Vic Barlow ..... he speaks a lot of common sense.
Just to shave about 10 / 15 minutes off the existing time it takes from Wilmslow to London, but yet costing many billions of pounds to build the tracks and all the infrastructure is just ludicrous.

It will be at least 20 or so years of upheaval and disruption before it is finished and as far as I'm concerned it's just a total waste of time, resources, energy, finance and nonsense.

Any time "saved" will be more than lost in having to get from Wilmslow Railway Station to the proposed hub at Manchester Airport to board the HS2 train anyway, because it certainly won't be stopping at Wilmslow or Alderley Edge Railway Stations ?

Who the hell thinks up these goofy brainwaves ?
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 28th December 2016 at 5:46 pm
@David Hadfield, Who the hell thinks up these goofy brainwaves ?

Our out-going MP and his school-mates.
Malcolm McClean
Wednesday 28th December 2016 at 7:02 pm
This is a good debate and I find myself swaying one way then another. Who would want to get to London 15 minutes earlier? Well I suppose it would give you an extra fifteen minutes to acclimatise to the rudeness.

And it's true, the Victorian entrepreneurs had massive ideas beyond everyone's wildest dreams, yet isn't upgrading the railways a bit like the Romans making a more efficient chariot?

People communicate and goods move in different ways these days. Yes let's have big ideas, but some new ones....and have you ever seen a Government funded project that didn't in the end need three times the original budget?
Alan Brough
Friday 30th December 2016 at 11:01 pm
Another vote for Vic Barlow and his (un)common sense.

But how come Councils and Developers manage to get away with it?

Surely the time has come for the little boy to point out that the pathetic, parading,prancing postulating "King" is in the altogether....totally naked...without credibility.... a complete buffoon?

The reason that "They" get away with it is because we don't read the little notices, slyly affixed to the lamp-posts or the little notices cunningly published in the small-ads of scarcely-read local rags.

Having objected once (or twice) we don't realise that the agent, acting for the beneficiary of the Planner once (or twice) removed from the Developer who, in the first part, submitted the plan.....that was (quite rightly) rejected, has now re-submitted a plan, with his clients amendments.......and now we'll have 200 (what might be called) affordable mansions, in gated-communities on (or off) Macclesfield Road or adjacent thoroughfares, or areas not yet identified or describable etc etc

These people have got to be held to account. They're not clever - just opportunistic, and they prosper only by the acquiescence of those of us who cant really be bothered.