And another absurdity –
I’ve been reading (Prospect magazine, on the future of cities) about Porto, in Portugal, and how the mayor, Rui Moriera, ‘has pledged not to sell a single council house and instead invest in a programme of renovations and converting derelict buildings into new ones’.
‘We could easily make 10% of our budget every year by selling houses. If you do that you can build a lot of bridges and lots of mayors like that. But it will kill the city. The city will lose all the flair that attracted people in the first place.’
The government here plans the further sale of council houses, and new bridges are planned for London of course. And in time as we lose the social mix, and city-centre estates are replaced by new ‘mixed-use’ developments, London will lose its flair.
In London, and across the country, building more social housing, allowing councils to start building again, encouraging housing associations, has to be the way forward. Not obliging them to sell off their stock, when housing is a vital commodity, more than that, fundamental to our future, and existing private sector plans simply aren’t coping.
Doctinaire considerations – private over public – bid down the practical. (See my third blog, my third absurdity.)