Dear Reader: Google no longer supports Feedburner RSS! To receive feeds / email alerts of new posts, please register below, right.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

For Wisley, read the UK

In the latest edition of the Spectator, Melissa Kite is distributing leaflets on behalf of a local action group, about the proposed massive (2,175 houses) residential property development in Wisley. The beneficiaries, she claims, are based in the Cayman Islands (though in 2012 there was also some legal dispute in Jersey, another offshore tax haven) and stand to make a billion pounds, tax-free.

Kite says that she has been warned off her campaign by people who told her they would "wear her down"; Surrey County Council seem to have managed it in the case of another residents' association chairman at the back end of last year.

The nominee company in the Jersey case was Prestigic (Wisley) Nominees Limited Company, whose address appears to be the same as that of Prestigic Holdings Limited (Chairman: Adrian Goldsmith). It also shares that address with a chi-chi Indian restaurant called Gymkhana; the horsey connection might vaguely appeal to an equestrian fan like Melissa.

We in the UK already have to import half our food, and I don't know of any program to convert housing back to arable land. Once it's gone, it's gone, and Heaven help us if we're ever in a food crisis again as we were in the 1940s.

In any case, I have long thought that we don't have a housing shortage. Here is what I wrote two years ago (3 September 2011):

"Panellists on Radio 4's Any Questions? and Charles Moore in this week's Spectator magazine agree (with lots of others, it seems) that there is a housing shortage in the UK and the only question is how to satisfy it. I beg to differ, or at least think we can question the assumption.

1. "According to The Empty Homes Agency, there are an estimated 870,000 empty homes in the UK and enough empty commercial property to create 420,000 new homes", according to the BBC website section on Homes.

2. There are over 245,000 registered second homes in the UK, according to Schofields home insurers.

3. The 2001 census showed that average home occupation in England and Wales had declined from 10 years before, from 2.51 to 2.36 persons.

4. According to the official Housing Survey of 2008/9, 7.7 million households were couples with no dependent children; there were also 6.2 million single person households (up from 3.8 million in 1981).

5. The same survey showed that the average (mean) dwelling had 2.8 bedrooms, rising to 3.0 bedrooms for owner-occupiers. Fewer than 3% of households were defined as overcrowded.

6. According to a 2005 Home Office study, there were 310,000 - 570,000 illegal immigrants in the UK, a figure which MigrationWatch thought to be underestimated by 15,000 - 85,000. This is a separate issue from the 8.7% of the population who are economic migrants to the UK, and whose real net contribution to the economy (after taking into account all benefits to which they and their dependants may be entitled) is a matter of debate.

We are not in the situation we faced in 1945, when soldiers returning home from war squatted on military sites and even caves. The modern "housing shortage" is an arbitrary notion."

Fight on, Ms Kite.


All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.


Wolfie said...

Well said. Our housing crisis is another manufactured crisis to fill the pockets of local oligarchs yet again.

Not much different to the "flooding crisis".

Sackerson said...

Hi, Wolfie. Care to add your voice here sometime?

Wolfie said...

I've been meaning to but I've been too busy of late I'm afraid.