Village Regeneration - the INSANITY of it!
I live in an ex mining County Durham village which was the sink hole for Council defaulters for years. Things changed when the benefit people paid the housing benefit direct to the punters and not the landlords, so the landlords stopped looking after the houses, the streets went downhill very quickly and it became a socially bereft area. People, when I moved here in 2007, were living i slum conditions. And I mean slum.
Several of the terrace streets have already been pulled down, and mine is next. I live in one of 52 late Victorian terraces, only four of us are owner/occupiers, about 10 are rented and the rest are empty and approaching derelict, with slates falling dangerously off the roofs whenever a high wind is around.
It costs around £26k to knock each house down, presumably economies of scale will become applicable and each of ours will be cheaper than that, say £18k. If you spent £18k on each house - some are 2 bed, some are 2 - they would be fabulous. All solidly built, most have DG already, need new roofs and chimneys stabilising but otherwise are perfectly liveable.
It was originally planned to build semis in their place but of course the recession arrived and no-one can get the mortgages to buy them if they do, so it's now all empty space, grass on top of rubble. Some owned by the developers, some by the Council. Two of the local fields - one with ancient plough markings in, plus the allotments are earmarked for building space too. The lotty's were supposed to be moved but those two fields were the only options, both gently sloping south facing sites, as alternatives for allotment sites.
A bypass which cut through a row of over 50 terraces killed the village, cut a infant and junior play area off from the village with a main arterial road, chopped the allotment site in half (never replaced them) and closed all the shops. Now the biggest shop is the betting shop. We do have a post office, plus two 8 till late shops, various fast food and a new cafe but the grocers, the butchers, the fishmonger, the draper (now a money lender in there!) and the toyshop have closed, now there's no through traffic, they closed the old road completely instead of leaving it open and putting in an HGV capable road round the village.
They call it progress.
A large French conglomerate have built a waste wood pelleting electricity producing plant in the Industrial Estate and they have offered money into a village 'Green Fund' and someone wants to build the North's largest wind farm in a field to the South of the village, and they have put a sweeter into the 'Green Fund' too. Green wash? Well, we bury 80% of our waste wood so I applaud Dalkia's factory - jobs, function ... it's all good. The wind farm ... hmm. Massive resources to build ... insane subsidies that mean that the companies who run them get paid to turn them off if the wind is blowing when it's not needed ...
In a country that's crying out for more cheap starter housing surely it makes sense to improve original stock rather than build new? These houses are perfect for part ownership schemes. Half the problem seems to be is that the young people of today want three bed semis with garden and garage RIGHT NOW instead of the way we all gained them - in time.