Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Housing Policy Is a Failure

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Housing Policy Is a Failure

Article excerpt

BACK in May, Gordon Brown said he thought five eco-towns could be builtin Britain, with homes, roads and bus routes constructed "in the mostenvironmentally sustainable way". Since then the five have grown to 10, and nowHealth Secretary Alan Johnson says they should be adapted to make them improvepeople's health (1 November).

I trust the UK's obesity czar will amend his boss's transport proposals.

For if Johnson thinks his task is to "help people make physical activity anormal part of everyday life", then dispensing with roads in the eco-townswould ensure people stay slim andif the World Cancer Research Fund's new report is to be believed avoid cancer.

What about making these new towns TV-free zones too? After all, TV encouragesus to be couch potatoesbad for the NHS and UK plc. And in the walk-towork office blocks of the neweco-towns, please let us have no lifts to encourage sloth.

Labour's zeal to make us live zero-carbon, zero-carbohydrate lifestylessqueezes two ridiculous aims into one failed policyhousing. Labour has engineered nowhere near the required number of homes in theThames Gateway but its ambitions to police us through social engineering knowno limits.

Professor James Woudhuysen, SW15.

TEN years ago, I started to argue for the building of a new town outsideCambridge. The idea was to relieve development pressure on Cambridge, withoutdestroying either its "small city" character or ruining every village in thesurrounding area. …

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