Government guarantees to make things worse
So it is people that threaten the recommendations of the Urban Task Force(AJ 23.1.03)!
I lived in and contributed to a considerable amount of housing and industry in one of the settlements mentioned. Now living in a commuter village in a similar area of southern England between Oxford and Witney, I find it difficult to recognise Mr Alsop's causes and effects.
The reality around here is low crime, top-ranking state schools and stable communities.
Sadly, however, 92 per cent of new households cannot afford to enter the housing market, £40,000 being the minimum salary required to secure a mortgage on the cheapest local property (which excludes most architects).
Hence there is much inward commuting from cheaper areas to the expanding market towns where employment exists, and much outward commuting for those who cannot afford Oxford or London house prices.
The strategic planning system has achieved a balance between jobs and housing in the market towns but cannot (thank heavens) dictate where people choose to live.
Currently, by misusing the development control system to deliver so-called 'affordable housing' at ratios up to 70 per cent, the government is guaranteeing to make the problem worse and directly disadvantage those earning £15,000 to £50,000. As a nation we are building less housing than in the 1920s and the shortfall between housing demand and supply is estimated at 1.1 million homes by 2022, mainly in London and the South East (OPDM figures).
Had the Urban Task Force been more concerned with such issues, together with relevant and practical delivery systems, perhaps its findings would not have been so lightly set aside.
Colin James, chairman, RIBA South, from my conservatory on the edge of the Cotswolds, Pinsley Orchard, Long Hanborough