Places for People

At the ‘Little George’ Hustings last Thursday night (Stroud and well worth a visit – who knew you can get non-alcoholic gin?) the issue of affordable housing was raised. There are two issues around housing:

  1. both buying and renting a home has become unaffordable, coupled with the lack of protection for those who rent
  2. the siting of new homes is contentious and often represents a loss to local communities.

On point 1: we need protection for those who rent, we need decent council houses that can’t be sold off, and we need to recognise that rising house prices are reducing the value of people’s incomes. The increase in the value of land and housing has been driven by the actions of the banks, who have increasingly lent against assets rather than investing in business and industry – see for an analysis of the money supply and its impact on housing. It will make your brain spin.

On point 2: the housing that we are building is often unfit for purpose; large areas of valuable land are given over to access, tarmaced over, with inefficient, cramped, inflexible housing thrown up which would appear to have almost been designed to kill off community. There is another way: and the Co-housing movement, high density, car free housing which allows neighbours to form communities, is one answer. Almost forming villages within towns and cities.

Car parking at Stroud Co-housing

Stroud co-housing is an excellent example of housing design with car-parking arranged on the edge of the development. Within the housing complex, car-free streets allow people to walk, talk and play – to enjoy being outside.

Car-free street at Stroud co-housing

by Sarah Lunnon, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate