Phillip Inman, writing in the Observer, discussed the division between those who want to rethink their lives after Covid and those wanting to return to “normality”.
Top of the list for change in his opinion is the need to re-examine housing:
“ …… Inside the Treasury, there is a conviction that only volume matters. It rules all other considerations and leads the housing, communities and local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, to side with developers at every turn. He has torn up the plans of countless local authorities on the grounds that they don’t include enough housing.
Jenrick cares little about the size of the homes and whether the abundance of pokey one- and two-bedroom flats with open-plan kitchen/dining/living areas is fit for a 21st century in which at least one person may be working from home.
It only takes one graph revealing a decline in the annual rise in commuting to a city – any city – from the surrounding area for all the profits from a major housing development to evaporate.
There are still projects across the south-east being promoted by Jenrick that need extra public transport links to be viable. How will these work when many people say they will refuse to travel on public transport until the vaccine has done its work, and maybe not even then?
Hopefully, a Labour government would begin to see towns as places that people should want to live and work in, and would aim to reduce the number who commute, going with the grain of modern urban ideas. The party should challenge the outmoded view that large cities are the only routes to growth and say that a reassessment of what an economy needs to be successful – GDP growth is not necessarily the measure – is a priority……”
Phillip Inman www.theguardian.com