Cllr Bowes Phipps Goes for the Man not the Ball over St Albans Local Plan

The last desperate attack by someone who has lost an argument is to make a personal attack.

Here St Albans Cllr Bowes Phillips goes for the Man not the Ball, quite a low blow, rather than dealing with the logic or veracity of any of the issues presented.

He [me]argues that we, the elected members of St Albans are not capable of deciding what is right for St Albans,

Not true there are and where perfectly capable and broadly made the right choice, it is the exercise of democracy to which the cllr is protesting.

[He] deliberately discounts all the environmental factors that are a reality for people in this District (pressure on water supply, transport and education challenges, flood risks, coalescence with neighbouring towns, etc) and argues that we should have more housing than 250 dwellings a year, (and judging from his blog – an awful lot of flats).

Comment by Andrew Lainton

This is nonsense as any regular reader of this blog will note.  What I have criticized is  the research report commissioned for the Council on Ecosystem Services (I have been employed as an expert on a national research programme on this issue so I know my stuff). This makes the elementary error that it is houses that create need for school places, drink water and consume electricity etc.  This was debunked years ago and yet this report does not  even quote the literature.  It would never have passed peer review to a journal and therefore does not stand up as part of the evidence base.

May I simply refer to the 2007 Reading university research into the environmental impact of the housing Green Paper prepared for the then DCLG which makes this point with hard numbers.

A second factor is that new housing, has a much higher propensity to be occupied by existing residents than existing housing.  This means that the large majority of residents to new homes will be already living in the housing market area, and so wont be generating school places, drinking water, consuming electricity, driving any noticable degree more as they will already be living in the area.  Clearly this point flew over Cllr Bowes Phipps head.

There may be an impact (much less than 1:1) from new residents moving in, but this only becomes significant if one area builds and every other area does not.  If every other area builds then at a national level the impact nets to zero. It is therefore the disprortionate impacts on ‘growth areas’ that really need to be focussed on.

The Cllr also attacks me for criticising formless poorly designed urban sprawl…errrr is the cllr advocating this?  Are they a Tea Party member?

I did confuse Brickett Wood and Oaklands at one point because every time I have visited BRE it is BRE Garston which threw me, corrected in earlier post.  What does that have to do with the issues techincal/national planning policy raised above, nothing?  Illogical post from the Cllr.

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About andrew lainton

International Urban Planner

Posted on December 8, 2012, in urban planning. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sorry Andrew, you’ve managed to loose me on what you claim to be an irrefutable argument.
    If you build 250 new dwellings and these are occupied, in the majority, by existing residents, what happens to the local dwellings those residents have vacated? Do they somehow disappear from the calculations on the demand for local services e.g. Water, school places, electricity, etc, that you refer to?
    Arguing that these impacts is diluted because other areas are also building, seems equally flawed. Can you please clarify both these points.

    • They are most likely to be occupied by existing residents and so on – its mathematically a Taylor series expansion – thought about putting in post but diudnt want to lose people inn maths,

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