Draft presentation for fundraising a road show.

james armstrong james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Tue May 13 18:39:32 BST 2008

here is the 1,000 word draft of the text of a power point presentation  which  i propose we make  to  a list of housing ,  land holders, lever pullers and punters etc.

Recommendations -
based on the premises that individuals with human rights  
claim preference over corporations motivated by  profit
and HMG's prime  role is to promote the interests of the landless. 
1 Designate a special planning category for self occupied, 
self build houses.
A more powerful initiative would confine the issue of Planning Permits for new dwellings to named potential house occupiers. 
2  Favour single unit and co-housing planning applications.
3  Remove the present preference shown by planners to corporate multiple unit market housing applications. 
4  Compile urgently an accessible comprehensive land ownership registry  as available in every marie,  in the smallest French village.
5 Tax land bankers in land not in sterling
6   Establish a national bank of land, for  agricultural, industrial, social and housing  as a resource for public use  removed from being  a commodity bought and  sold  and speculated on in the expectation of exploiting people's need and in the expectation of reward from the public purse through the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU.   
7  Prosecute corporations' unlawful use of market power  amassing landbanks to restrict supply of new houses and push up prices  and trickle out supply with a view to 'market absorption'
8  Explore  the self build option *overlooked' in the otherwise  comprehensive HMG Barker Review   
9  RTPI support the initiative to harness  architectural skills to s b housing to the beautifying of the landscape and preserving and enhancing  the  existing vernacular town- and village-scapes.    
10  Arts Council support the initiative by funding a touring  'self build' road show  visiting music festivals, fairs and  camp sites  promoting self built vernacular housing, community land trusts and co-housing initiatives, with the  objective of  attracting offers of building land for community initiatives and demonstrating self build is easy, low cost, energy efficient,  of the people and the way forward 
The Return on investing in a Road show -.
The project eliciting  an offer of land with pp for just one s-b house will exceed  the cost of funding a  road show for three years ,at £50,000 .                          * letter to the writer from Ms Kate Barker

Presentation advocating  Self Build Houses
By James Armstrong

Self Build- an underused source of supply in UK

James Armstrong 
is a hons graduate of Edinburgh Uni. specialising in monetary policy 
has designed and built two 's b' houses 
-Contributed to the Barker Review of Housing supply 
-Exhorts  the Office of Fair Trading to prosecute unlawful use of market power by corporate builders for  landbanking, trickling out etc
-Networks self build, low impact life style groups active for change
-Campaigns for 'The Land is Ours' , tlio.org.uk, 'The Land' magazine and pricedout.org.uk
Network! Join housing seminars at  Tolpuddle, festivals, gatherings etc !  Currently gathering funding for a campaigning s-b road show.                                   1stMay 2008 

Self Build Houses

Why don't we?


When one man sells land  to another  both conspire to rob a third.
Lloyd George

All the while the landlord sits still.   Every one of those improvements is effected by the labour and at the cost of other people and the taxpayers.To not one of these improvements does the land- monopolist as land- monopolist contribute, and yet by every one  of them the value of his land  is enhanced.
…   Winston Churchill  Limehouse speech 1918

The available options

HMG plans and targets are just that -  illusory - since giant housebuilders control the available building land and regulate the output with an eye to keeping prices high, of both their landbanks and the houses they trickle out. (see the findings of  Barker Review) 
The current ethos of reducing state involvement  means there is no prospect of  funding council house building
The Regional Spatial Strategy is a top-down, bureaucratic  approach open to local criticism and leaving the decision to supply or not up to the corporations. In it, regional supply is allocated centrally not in response to local demand: it is one more planning restriction.
It is Bank of England  mpc inspired, is  anti- democratic, and puts the decision  to build  in the remit of the board rooms who make more returns on the increase of their land banks than they do on building houses. (Barker) 
There is a 'tsunami' of self builders desperate to solve their own and the nation's housing problem
offering a real,  people solution not merely a government 'plan' vulnerable to corporate exploitation.    
    Self build offers increased satisfaction, increased supply, decreased housing cost and encourages the revival of vernacular  houses to replace monodesign estates and developments which attract  justified public opposition.

     Co housing developments are the way to supply non market houses in towns and are open to utilise low impact sustainable energy systems and encourage community forming.
Community land trusts invite acquisition of land for permanent community use including housing.

How did we get here?

Supply in this time of  unprecedented demand is currently  200,000 new houses p.a.  In the sixties  output was 600,000 in one year. 
The 1947 Town Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act presumed a well-funded   vigourous council house building programme and a government committed to people's housing needs, not one committed to promote consumer debt  to feed speculation in the City.  Planning has atrophied into restriction because the funding for building council houses has dried up. Without competition  planning now helps corporations restrict supply.
The Housing corporation scene is  reported by commentators to be a sink  of corruption.
An invasive, persistent, well funded campaign of misinformation by  monopoly traditional landowners , CPRE, CLBA and by building- land owning  landbankers - the NFof HB,  has successfully persuaded  commentators that the cause of the crisis is market forces. It isn't. The market for land has been effectively and unlawfully destroyed by monopoly and  the cause of the crisis is deliberate market manipulation to push up prices by restricting supply.   
The best known plc's have been identified  as fraudster monopolists by OFT.   'The Market' restricts supply to high priced 'residences'  for speculation -often of low quality and small room and tiny plot sizes. Poundbury is an example.  
s-b provides  low cost houses for families to make homes where they are needed  which with planning input  can enhance the landscape.
     Compulsory purchase in the 1947 Act was held in reserve to ensure land was made available for housebuilding. CP to-day is used up front to buy and destroy streets of viable houses for the convenience of giant developers, often of  houses at out of reach prices which are then built sparingly.

S-B given a planning category, planning priority  and non financial government support  can make a substantial additional contribution to the supply of UK  houses at low cost and no cost to the Treasury .
SB exploits resources and the presently frustrated drive-to-build of individuals motivated independent of the cyclical  supply of market housing. 
SB as envisaged, removes the temptation  and the present actuality of monopolised building land.
Taxing UK bulk landowners in land, not in sterling provides an available  seed bank of land. 
The 1919 Acquisition of Land (Compensation)  Act o                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ffers a vehicle for acquiring necessary land at pre speculation  prices.  
Self builders are amenable to build using  low impact methods and materials and  to build in  designs which enhance the landscape, especially if given RTPI  RCA            support. 
The objective is to increase the supply of low cost houses where they are needed gaining local acceptance  and at no cost to the Treasury.
- to modulate the cyclical supply of new houses
-     to introduce a competitive element into the present monopoly supply of new houses
- to revive the attenuated art-from  of the common people of England - building vernacular style houses within organic communities
- to beautify the landscape of England 
- to remove the possibility of local corporate monopoly of supply 

Goal And Objective

Increase the supply of high quality , low cost houses where they are needed at no cost to the Treasury

Modulate fluctuations in the supply and price of new houses 

Introduce a competitive element to the giant corporations who dominate the supply of new houses 

Revive the people's art-form of building vernacular houses within organic communities  


Beautify the landscape and townscape of England

Remove the possibility of local monopoly of supply by dominant builders 

Self Build has triple A rating as the artisan art form answer to the market housing crisis  of low supply and high prices.

To-day's situation 
   There are systematic *market failures of supply of new houses by the giant  housebuilding corporations 
* "amounting to Market Failure"….….Barker Review 

    This restriction at the margin affects the price of all houses destroying an open market causing them to rise faster than incomes and inflation
   Low quantities, low quality, low consumer satisfaction, high prices and building land monopoly exist-       Barker says so..
   High local resistance to 'affluent incomers' and monodesign houses  is generated.
    A well orchestrated campaign has misinformed  people who have never visited each country in the UK nor each county in England nor each field in their parish that Britain is overcrowded and that land is in short supply.  Britain is a huge group of islands, with land surplus to agricultural requirements and the landscape is largely deserted of crops,  farm workers, farmers, farm animals and houses.
Vernacular houses would enhance the landscape- study Constable's paintings. And the countryside population is hardly larger to-day than it was in the first census of 1801, approximately 9 million people. 
The growth of the conurbations has annexed only 5% of the countryside and accounts for almost all the population increase.  
   Puzzles:  Houses are a low tech consumer item universally needed for home-making for which there is an annually growing market yet are endemically in short supply. Why?
  Self -build  cannot presently compete in land acquisition with  market houses built on corporate landbanks. Have people been squeezed out by corporations aided by Bank of England and Treasury policy?

Our  recommendations bid to give some answers.

The Prospect
The prospect is price stabilisation, increased supply of houses and reduced  speculation and consequent  increases in the price of land, leading to a fall in the price of building plots.
Reserve Powers
The use of compulsory purchase of land required for  public use (housing) is envisaged as under the 1919  Land Purchase  Act,  at pre-speculative  market prices.

James Armstrong, Dorchester  May 1st 2008                                                              sbrs:pres

Be a Hero and Win with Iron Man

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