The Conservative/Independent council in Moray tried to block plans to build 22 affordable homes on the south side of the small town of Hopeman. The town has seen no affordable house building in 40 years and desperately needs these 22 homes.
According to the report in Scottish Housing News:
‘The size and scale of the proposal did not reflect the settlement pattern, failed to integrate into the surrounding area and would be detrimental to the existing open character and identity of Forsyth Street and Hopeman.’
However, the Scottish government has overturned the decision and the homes will be built perhaps preventing the re-location of poorer families to other towns as, perhaps, the local council had hoped.
The Scottish Government reporter did not agree that the houses would be detrimental to the existing character of the area, insisted all the homes should be affordable and said:
‘The unique circumstances of this case include the contribution that the proposal would make towards addressing an urgent unmet need for affordable housing across the Elgin housing market area.’
If these houses prevent people having to relocate because of the high cost of living in their hometown, then this clearly a good outcome.
This decision by the Scottish Government reporter would seem to reflect the strong commitment we see in Scotland to dealing with the shortage of affordable homes across the country. See:
£756 million of support for building affordable homes in SNP budget
Scottish Government increases supply of affordable housing and builds at more, perhaps much more, than twice the rate as in England
At the root of the entire housing crisis is the crude basic axiom of economics relating to supply and demand. If the former is restricted then the latter, and consequently, price/valuation, will rise. It is usually clouded by references to things like ‘the existing open character and identity’. And, of course, it is implicit that ‘social housing’ will be shabby and tawdry.
Building good quality ecologically sound houses is relatively cheap, because in our distorted property market, land prices take up a grossly disproportionate amount of the money the putative house owner pays. Land reform is essential and the kind of taxation system to remedy it is pretty well understood and could be implied if there were political will. Now, I am not implying cowardice on behalf of a significant part of our elected representatives. The problem is that the landowning and property owning class is piratically ready to wreak havoc on individual councillors, MSPs and MPs who take significant action. We see this in the action against Andy Wightman MSP.
In England, a challenge to the leasehold system, which reportedly would have reduced prices by up to 50%, has been defeated in the High Court. This particular case referred to the obscenely inflated housing market in West London, where land is owned by such as The Duke of Westminster. And, the peers of this Duke will be those deciding of the devolution of powers to Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the legislatures which can act against the landowning interests. THE COLONEL’s ‘doughty 13’ despite protestations to the contrary, know who butters their bread.
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The Elgin area is where the redoubtable author Jessie Kesson had to live in a tent on a river bank because there was no affordable housing – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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I think keeping communities together is alot better than splitting up familays and quite right to overturn the oposition in this case.
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I do support this action but wonder if Harbour St Hopeman can accommodate the increased traffic, it is very difficult to get up and down the street in the summertime as it is. 22 new houses is at least 22 extra cars, possibly as many as 50-60, the street can be chock a block with delivery lorries supplying the shops through the week and I have seen things come to a complete standstill. The photo is also 30 years out of date, there are a lot more houses in Hopeman than this. Yes to the housing but the infrastructure concerns me a bit.
Thanks, would people in affordable housing afford multiple cars?
I despair on a regular basis when I read such class defined objections. People need housing and segregating private housing and “affordable housing” is another form of doing so. I just wonder whether those families already living in these houses who have more than likely inherited them, forget just how difficult it is for young families to start up. And the huge impact that they could and can make in “their” areas and environments. Do they forget how those who lived there previously lived? This untouchable approach is insular, selfish and age discriminatory – not open for any younger families to integrate and grow a community. So selfishly out of touch. Glad that the SG stepped in here.
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