Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

These Clowns Expect to Do Twice as Well as in Years of Prosperity; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

These Clowns Expect to Do Twice as Well as in Years of Prosperity; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: David Byrne

NEWCASTLE and Gateshead Councils recently published a joint document Newcastle-Gateshead One Core Strategy (incidentally, why does Newcastle always come first in such titles despite being alphabetically second?) which describes planning intentions for the two local authorities up to the year 2030. It makes interesting, if deeply depressing, reading.

The key emphasis is on growth, despite a section paying what can only be described as lip service to the threat of global warming and the need to control carbon emissions. It would be bad enough if the very real contradiction between growth and the threat of global warming was the only issue to be identified. Indeed it would be very bad indeed. We might say it would be a tragedy.

Given that we are dealing with our beloved local leaders, of course, we have to expect not only tragedy but farce. The farcical element in these plans lies in the ridiculously optimistic intentions expressed within them.

We are actually facing a world recession, indeed may well be moving into a real global depression on a scale not seen since the 1930s. But that brutal fact seems to have escaped the notice of our local rulers. So for example they assert that we require - and will get - an extra 36,000 new dwellings, many of which will be built on green belt land. That means they are expecting a rate of new dwelling construction in two urban areas over the life of the plan equivalent to that twice that which the North East saw in the years 1999 to 2009 which were years of housing boom.

Now where did that go? Try selling a house around here today and you will soon find out. So in the teeth of a global, national, regional and local economic crisis these clowns expect to do twice as well as the region did in years of prosperity, increasing the housing stock by 17% across 19 bad years as opposed to a regional increase across 10 mostly good years of 4.3%. Do the math!

Ah-ha, but I am ignoring the possibility of demolition. And Newcastle and Gateshead councils are very keen on demolishing houses. They were enthusiastic supporters of that mad and bad programme called 'Pathfinder', now abolished by the Tories. …

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