Shock and Orr

It’s like being mugged by Private Walker from Dad’s Army. “There you go guv, special deal just for you. No pressure but I’m only in town for the week see, so you’ll need to decide soon otherwise the offer’s off the table.”

If the Twitter debate was anything to go by, there was a massive disconnect between those in the conference hall who appeared to have been lulled and seduced by the dulcet double act of Clark and Orr, and those outside the hall who seemed to be shocked by what was being offered up to the sector. I certainly was. Continue reading

The value of nothing

This is a blog about art, but bear with me, I shall come to housing at the end.

Being a part-time painter, I recently did a large painting of Stanley Buildings at King’s Cross. These 5 blocks, housing 104 families, were built in 1864 by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company as tenement flats for local workers. Legend has it that The Pogues lived here in the early eighties, by which time it was a short-life scheme. Now only one block remains, kept company by the adjacent German Gymnasium of 1865, and overshadowed by the new towers that are rapidly emerging from the King’s Cross hinterland.

Stanley Buildings King's Cross

Stanley Buildings King’s Cross

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Land Lord!

Some recent figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on land values reveal an interesting, and shocking, picture of the state of the country’s residential land market.

To begin with, the average value of a hectare of agricultural land in England is £21,000. The average value of a hectare of land with residential planning permission outside London is £1.958m, so 93 times higher than agricultural, but if London is included this soars to £6.017m – 286 times higher than a hectare of agricultural land. Continue reading