Developing the party line

It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the vote at last night’s council meeting to oppose the Eastern Development Area proposals ended up dividing along party lines. It seems that the local red nest are totally ignorant of what their party’s mismanagement of the economy and distortion of the housing market has done, as illustrated by the comments of Mr Grant.

This plan will deliver much needed affordable housing to Swindon. We should be trying to make sure that the development is eco-friendly and includes green technology — we should back this development for the future of Swindon.

At the moment, just about the only building going on in Swindon’s northern and southern development areas is the construction of so-called affordable housing. And if you look at the prices of those ‘affordable’ houses, you’ll notice that most are more expensive than the equivalent allegedly unaffordable houses in other parts of Swindon. Forcing developers to make 30% of any large development ‘affordable’ just forces the average price of housing up without solving the underlying problem.

If you want to make housing affordable, the only way to do it is to ensure that supply exceeds demand. The recent collapse in the economy has done more to bring that about than market distorting government rules on affordable housing ever will.