Saturday, 27 February 2016

Interesting articles which people have emailed me.

Random sent this from The Independent:

A ban on super-strength kettles has been put on hold amid fears that it could drive Britain to leave the EU, it has been reported.

The European Commission had been planning a number of measures to ban high energy appliances for environmental reasons. However it has now quietly shelved the ban due to concerns that backlash in Britain could drive the country towards a Brexit.

Sounds plausible, actually. So they'll wait until after the referendum and then do it.
SG sent this from The Guardian:

A Silicon Valley venture capitalist whose net worth is greater than $1bn is asking the state of California to pay him $30m to restore public access to a beloved beach – sparking fresh outrage in a lengthy legal battle over coastal lands.

That's outrageous, how can the government sell off the public access in the first place? In English land law, if there is a public right of way, then the owner and all subsequent owners are stuck with it (it comes off the price when you buy).

MBK sent in this from The Telegraph:

A couple were shocked to discover their farm cottage is set to be surrounded by a 700-home estate - despite not being consulted when developers first applied for planning permission.

Cheryle Walton and her partner Paul Jones were unaware of plans to build the "mini town" until a passer-by mentioned the development. But the 507,500-square metre development in Chippenham, Wiltshire, is set to encompass their detached cottage, which currently sits in miles of fields.

Miles of fields, my arse. A quick search on Google Maps tells us that their house is in the wedge of fields (top left hand corner, opposite Wavin Plastics), which is pretty much the most obvious place to build new housing (unless the village/town is so big that it ought to be earmarked as a public park/woodland). (It is easy to find - the River Avon makes a distinctive bend on the plan in the Telegraph article which is easily identified on Google Maps).

So they must have known it would happen sooner or later (or be subject to a CPO to open up the park). Top tip, if you don't like change, buy a house in a built up area where not much more is going to happen or one which really is miles from anywhere.


paulc156 said...

Ref the comments about public right of way, the above url is from Simon Wren-Lewis blog, Mainly Macro 'in praise of foot paths' comparing UK to US.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, aha, interesting, I have learned something new today.

In Germany, the general rule is that the strip of land round a lake or river is accessible to the public, so you see relatively few homes with "private access" to beach or lake etc, there's a footpath or park between it and the lake or river.

Clearly, this doesn't apply to harbours and boat houses, but that's only a few per cent of all waterways. Seems like a good rule to me.

Bayard said...

"Miles of fields, my arse. "

The picture in the Torygraph supposedly showing the glorious isolation of the cottage actually shows the edge of the current housing about 100yards away from the "dream cottage". Bloody FBRIers!

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, miles from anywhere and half a mile from the town centre and station...

Bayard said...

I can see why they are pissed off, but that's their fault for buying something it wasn't the vendor's to sell. Any damn fool could see that, in the absence of a green belt, the fields round their house would be the next to be built up.
Quite apart from that, did you see the picture of their "dream cottage"? What is it with these people who want their own bit of the suburbs surrounded by green fields?

Tim Almond said...


"I can see why they are pissed off, but that's their fault for buying something it wasn't the vendor's to sell."

I figured this a few years before buying my current house, when I knew people who were gutted after spending extra on a house overlooking fields that was built on. My thinking at the time was that if I buy a house, I'd rather know I've got a house across the road than a council tip.

Some of my neighbours got very angry about plans to build on the field at the end of the road, and I just didn't give too much of a crap. "We've paid more to live here and have this field". Well, more fool you, then (ironically, we ACTUALLY use the field as the dog loves it and it has blackberries and hawthorns).

Incidentally, Chippenham's an up-and-coming place. I seem to get more and more calls about software work based there. It's on the GW line, has M4 links. It's close enough to London and Bristol you can turn around a meeting in a morning.

Bayard said...

I suppose, at the end of the day, you have to make the judgement as whether you want the house enough to buy it even though you are paying for the view that might disappear or whether you'd be better off buying somewhere else. However, I'd be the first to admit that it is difficult to separate the idea of "well, that's what it costs and that's what I'm going to have to pay for it if I want it" from "it's not worth that because of x, y and z and I'd be a mug to pay that".

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, B. Agreed. A rational person makes assumptions about what is likely to happen in future and doesn't pay for something he won't own. Homeys think differently, probably not at all.

mombers said...

Re the beaches, would the 'owners' agree to a quid pro quo of compensation to the taxpayer/community of giving back any unearned increment on their land?

mombers said...

Re the FBR folk in Wiltshire, do they have a compensation arrangement with their immediate neighbours for depriving them of unimpeded views of the fields?

mombers said...

A thought experiment. How about granting planning permission on the basis that no development would be permitted within say 150m for 30 years, after which no objections could be raised. Such plots could be located well away from everyone else so that their desire for peace and quiet, views, etc. does not inconvenience everyone else. Someone who wants the beautiful rural life can then enjoy it for the rest of their lives, and when they come to sell, the person buying it will have expectations explicitly spelled out to them and they can't complain.

Bayard said...

"and they can't complain."

Oh yes they bloody well can, and they would too. Despite not having a leg to stand on, there'd still be a lot of whinging on how it was so unfair....

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, Homeys don't do logic or reason, they don't do compromises etc.