Sick Building Syndrome

According to the press, Westminster Council is considering a ban on the building of supersized homes. Is this a prudent planning measure or is the council suffering from a bad dose of the ‘Trots’?

Of course, this ‘initiative’ is risible and I’m sure that the green-eyed diktat will be poorly received by certain residents of this London borough.

As a pluralistic and free society we should be able to accommodate all economic groups, from princes to paupers, cottage-dwellers and kings of castles. The last thing the country needs is more aggro from the ‘give it me’ brigade, who covet the possessions of the better-off but don’t want to put in the work. Surely we should all aim to better ourselves, in material, educational or cultural terms? The policy change suffers from a serious case of rotten attitude, built on a foundation of class warfare.

Innovative social integration plan

One of the most innovative social integration plans for London took place in the 1960s, when council houses were interspersed amongst cherished residential areas. The natural outcome was greater socio-demographic diversity within various areas of the capital. To now suggest that planning consents for supersize homes should be restricted or possibly banned is the pointy end of a spiteful neo-Marxist wedge.

The rationale is that multi-dwelling developments, i.e. flats, should be built in their place. Best of luck explaining that to conservationists, who would rather wear barbed-wire underpants than accept these types of constructions.

Admittedly, some roads in Westminster comprise of large, very expensive properties (such as Avenue Road, St John’s Wood, NW8) that attract wealthy families who enjoy London life and want to contribute to the community and society. They spend their money here and often start businesses, which filters down and creates more employment and of course, more wealth for everyone.

No wonder the council is opposed to this sort of thing.

The example of 52, Avenue Road proves my point. Derelict for approximately 15 years, the geniuses at Camden Council have opposed the demolition of an existing mansion in favour of an apartment building, which serves only to demonstrate the flabbiness of their thinking.

War on basements

Another anti-rich, stealth policy was the ‘war on basements’, if you remember. The fact that it extends accommodation without having to move and incur draconian Stamp Duty is lost on these council buffoons, who are blinded by political dogma and maybe, just a hint of jealousy.

These bureaucrats ‘object’ to basement excavation on the shaky grounds that a well-to-do family adding a playroom below stairs will disturb the water table. Data from Thames Water (who might know about these things) shows that the Westminster aquifer level resides between the basal sands and chalk level.

Without going into technicalities, it would have to be a very deep basement indeed. Needless to say, the ‘theory’ is complete bilge.

Responsible redevelopment

Responsible redevelopment of all types, in all price ranges, is to be encouraged. Clamping down on a particular sector for spurious reasons that are based on sneering envy is a policy that will lead us to the social paradise of a Venezuela or North Korea.

We should all be shouting “Hallelujah” from the rooftops (or basements) and rejoicing that London is the greatest city on earth. There’s a reason that it’s the premier choice for discerning people from across around the world, who seem to appreciate its manifest qualities far more than some of the locals.

Residents who want to build a supersize mansion for their families should be given permission. We should be grateful for the fact that this country offers the liberty and freedom to do so. And what better time is there for this sentiment than in the post-Brexit era?

Hikes in Stamp Duty and non-dom changes have suffocated the residential property market, lowering Stamp Duty receipts for the Treasury and deterring wealth-creators from the UK. A tragedy in itself, this latest council madness heaps injury upon the original insult.

The moribund economies of Italy, France and Portugal are changing their tax laws to lure these wealthy individuals to their shores – and exchequers. All these countries have experienced leftist governments at one time; now they’ve woken up and realised that the affluent are vital to the success of a nation.

The British have many talents, not least, putting obstacles in our own way. If there’s one thing we can learn from the foolishness of Westminster Council, it’s that shooting oneself in the foot is no way to punish your adversaries.