ELECTORAL HOUSING BALLS

housing-development-design-and-regenerationNext up launching their mayoral election campaign … Step forward the Green Party. They even got their crackpot national leader, NUTTILY BENNETT, down for the occasion and their big promise is that they’re going to get private developers to build 8,000 HOMES by 2020 and 2,800 of these will be “affordable”, whatever the fuck that means this week.

So 35 PER CENT of homes built up to 2020 through some kind of unexplained city council/private sector partnership will be “affordable”. An ambitious target that the private sector has persistently FAILED to meet in Bristol and that they have little interest in meeting while they’re driven by a SHORT TERM PROFIT motive.

Quite why developers would suddenly start delivering these targets because the Green Party tell them to is anybodies’ guess. Especially when you consider that the local Greens’ favourite developer, URBIS, who have planning permission to build a tower block at St Catherine’s Place in Bedminster, are committed to delivering ZERO affordable or social housing there while waffling a lot about “sustainable housing”.

The other big question regarding this Green housing promise is where will they put all these homes? They are currently claiming they will build all of them on 91 HECTARES of city council land already identified in a council ‘Housing Land Prospectus‘ and that they will then “insist that MINIMUM DENSITY LEVELS are part of the deal for the future development of this land” according to Green mayoral candidate, Tony Dyer “Straits”.

However the council’s current plans for this land – mainly low quality OPEN SPACE on the outskirts of the city in the poorest areas – already proposes densities of over 70 people per hectare. While average density in Bristol is only 39 PEOPLE PER HECTARE.

The Greens’ proposals to pile 8,000 homes on to this land would therefore push densities up to around 250 – 300 PEOPLE PER HECTARE. An absurd level, way in excess of population densities in Horfield (54 people per hectare), Easton (92 pph) and Southville (49 pph) that the Greens have identified as desirable levels of population density.

The reality is that to deliver 8,000 homes in Bristol is going to take around 360 HECTARES of land, not the 90 currently on offer. This raises the question of where the Greens intend to build the rest of their homes?

However, not one to be outdone in the bullshit stakes, Labour’s Marvin “Luther” Rees is also promising to build 2,000 HOMES A YEAR by 2020. A similar amount to the Greens. Although he, also, has not identified the land he intends to build on.

The Bristolian’s advice is: watch out for your local green space. After May politicians might just want to give it away to their private developer friends …

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