Saturday, May 19, 2007

War Of the Wealds

I found myself admiring what I think was Madonna's mansion this morning, not that she would approve but it just happened to be in between where I was coming from, Compton Abbas and where I was going to, a gathering just south of Bournemouth airport.

What struck me was how much space there is outside the South-east, with the rest of us being squeezed into ever smaller parcels of land. Take the area between Redhill and Leatherhead, just South of the M25 as another example. Running alongside Gatwick and out towards Southampton, it's an unspoiled vista of an England that only now seems to exist in Hugh Grant films. Huge country houses and small villages that have escaped the developers attentions and will continue to do so, I suspect, because they represent a significant seat of influence and power in the country.

But roll past Sevenoaks on the descent into Rochester and you see what looks like a virus spreading across the countryside, the fresh looking colour of new brick estates, marching east, like story-book aliens from HG Wells, 'War of the Worlds" or perhaps it should be 'War of the Wealds'?

I suppose the fact of the matter is that Somerset is too far from London for affordable housing and Ashford is too near and Greater London, for all of us, seems to get a little closer every day

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you talk about Greater London getting closer do you know something that the rest of us don't? For example, about Westwood Cross housing? Would I be correct in saying that once planning permission is granted, TDC has no control of how the 1000+ houses are disposed of and that they could be pre-sold en-masse to a single buyer?

Anonymous said...

When you talk about Greater London getting closer do you know something that the rest of us don't? For example, about Westwood Cross housing? Would I be correct in saying that once planning permission is granted, TDC has no control of how the 1000+ houses are disposed of and that they could be pre-sold en-masse to a single buyer?

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the double-click, finger trouble!

DrMoores said...

That's not how I understand how Westwood Cross is being managed. We aren't suddenly going to have 1000 homes appear overnight and there has been considerable debate over the social housing element of the development if that's what you are asking about.

Anonymous said...

The latest rumor I have heard is that ALL the houses are going to be reserved for people from Brixton, apparently the theory is that most of these people will vote Labour thus ensuring a continuing Labour majority on the Council, I am absolutly assured that this is fact,, excuse me while I pick myself up from laughing so much.
Of course TDC has no control over who a private developer sells their houses to any more than they can control who Mr Bloggs can sell his house to.
Incidently before the election at a Scrutiny meeting two Conservative Councillors mentioned 1300 houses, not once but twice,,,maybe they know something the rest of us dont.


Cllr Mike Harrison.

Anonymous said...

This is awful.why oh why do we always get dumped on..(childrens homes from dodgy london boroughs and i remember a few years ago single mothers from dodgy london boroughs came here in droves we were called dole on sea!)the area is trying to regenerate please stop this happening.it is bad enough to have all these houses built at wastewood cross.we are becoming a concrete mess..

Anonymous said...

More to this than meets the eye!! On Friday, a builder on the St.Augustine's development in Westgate was asked if they would be involved in the Westwood development. No he said, because London contractors were being used as the majority of affordable housing was being block bought by Lambeth Council so that they could ship out about a 1000 families!! So much for affordable housing for Thanet residents. If this is true, why are we not being told, as these people are not likely to be contributing much to the local economy!!

Anonymous said...

perhaps I should repeat what I wrote,,

The latest rumour I have heard is that ALL the houses are going to be reserved for people from Brixton, apparently the theory is that most of these people will vote Labour thus ensuring a continuing Labour majority on the Council,

please note the words rumour and continuing Labour majority on the Council,

Labour hasnt had a majority on Thanet Council since 2003,

A builder who isnt involved in Westwood would say that wouldnt he!

This is the kind of nonsensicle claptrap put about by opponents of Westwood as they clearly have no cogent or cohesive arguements to make so they resort to spreading rumours!



Cllr Mike Harrison

Anonymous said...

3.52pm., despite this being laughed at by Cllr Harrison, what you say confirms what I have heard in Lambeth! So much for regeneration in Thanet!

Here's an interesting scenario to consider; TDC grants planning permission for 1000+ houses in a 'New Town' and GOSE gives this the 'greenlight' despite 4000 locals signing a petition from Roxanne Cheshire-Brazier. The developer can now provide the 'build' and TDC no longer has any control of the situation accept in over-seeing that what planning permission was granted for actually happens. The DISPOSAL and ownership of these properties is beyond TDC's control. A London Borough has negotiations with the developer to purchase said properties as they are built ( contracts agreed prior to build saves a lot of aggro for the developer); Borough then 're-houses' in Thanet and is able to free-up its own housing stock for re-development at LONDON PRICES!

Every one's a winner accept TDC and the people of Thanet.

A thought for Cllr Harrison as you laugh about a fiendish Labour plan ha ha to import Labour voters. This has got nothing to do with such nonsense; if it is true its all about making money and lots of it.

So Cllr Harrison, do you know or does TDC know anything about the developer's plans for selling this new town? Have local estate agents been approached to take on the job? Has a London Borough already got involved?

Wouldn't it be rather sickening that the people of Thanet have had all the nause of Westwood , with much more to come and it has nothing to do with regenerating Thanet but all about losing prime agricultural land to re-house Londoners and 'free-up' resources in a London Borough!

Anonymous said...

While we’re on about rumours, how about the rumour that a section of the ‘prestigious’ St.Augustine’s development in Westgate, is to be handed over to local/housing authority as social housing!

“Absolute rubbish” was the council reps reaction, “How do these rumours start?”

They start when they are said by the actual builders, a public servant, and an actual resident who has spent £345000, and is less than impressed at knowing he was part of a council estate!

Any more comments on rumours, Cllr H ?

DrMoores said...

My own understanding of the process to-date is:

That the road infrastructure is to be completed before the first resident is able to move in.

That the Labour motion at the full council meeting asked for 50% social rented accommodation/ shared equity and no road improvements until the 300th resident had moved in.

That the final compromise agreement was 25% social housing as the road infrastructure must go in first

I have asked and I can't see any evidence that a deal has been done with the developer on private sector housing going to Lambeth as I am told we still have to discuss the remaining permission which as yet has no detailed planning consent.

A caveat of course. I'm not on planning and I'm new to all of this but I can still pick up the phone and ask and must assume that the information I receive by return is accurate.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info, Dr Moores. I note your caveat.
I have to say that Cllr Harrison's response to 7.48pms 'double' was to say the least interesting. I could not read into 7.48's post what Cllr Harrison clearly did in his first comment at 10.46! Brixton from Cllr Harrison; Lambeth from the 'builders' at St Augustine's (are they not in the same Borough Council?)I cannot see any reason why a builder should say anything about Westwood and be motivated by spite to do so, as Cllr Harrison implies at 4.16pm. So there are rumours flying around that share the same basic story; " a London Borough has eyes on Westwood".
Cllr Harrison ridicules the 'rumour' but 8.10 weaves an interesting and plausible scenario but at the moment I honestly don't know what to believe.
Persimmon have necessarily had links with TDC for many years and some of us might remember that this link was so close that a 'Labour' TDC was seriously considering compulsory purchase at Persimmon's request to remove a gentleman from his house in Haine Rd to allow Westwood to proceed. Happily, with a lot of support for the pensioner from Tory Cllrs, Roger Gale and Gazette, Labour TDC backed off this course of action and the developers settled the matter with the pensioner amicably but more expensively.
Where does the truth lie when there is so much money involved and with a developer that is happy to try to avoid paying a pensioner a decent price and compensation for his property by trying to get the local council to force him out at a reduced price? They are quite rightly in business to maximise profits and do not need to have Thanet's needs in mind when doing so; that's the job of our Councillors. On balance, I am therefore not convinced that there is not substance to the 'rumours' and perhaps only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Has some-one touched a raw nerve, Cllr Harrison? 'nonsensical clap-trap'; 'opponents of Westwood Cross ...spreading rumours'. None of the bloggers referred to expressed antithesis to Westwood Cross, only an understandable concern about its disposal, once built. 'Methinks he doth protest too much' comes to mind.