The largest part of the SEC meeting revolved around housing or at least the excoriation of the idea that the town centre should be used to house people. It would be unfair, and certainly unwise, of me to characterise the audience as oldies but there was certainly no-one speaking for the needs of younger people or even our economy.
When I moved to London in 1984 after I graduated the first thing I did was buy a copy of the Evening Standard and look for a flat share. I wanted a cheap room near a tube station. I was paid Â£7,700 at the time. I spent the next 15 years living in flats near railway and tube stations. Checking rightmove.co.uk tonight two bedroom flats near Ealing Broadway station cost about Â£300K and one bedroom about Â£250K. According to the ONS ASHE statistics the average earnings of Ealing people in work is only Â£30K. The only way our young people will ever be able to afford to live in Ealing is to increase the supply of homes so that the price is driven down over time.
Sackur has the nerve to raise the issue of people crammed together in HMOs (legal or illegal bedsits in a road otherwise given over to family homes). Where does he expect people to live? Apparently they canâ€™t have a flat near the station and they canâ€™t live in a bedsit in Sackurâ€™s neighbourhood.
The motor of London’s economy is the professions which take people out of university and put them to work. Whether it is accountancy, advertising, pharmaceuticals, consultancy, finance, media, you name it they all hoover up young people. These young people need inexpensive, small homes near the transport system. Even the sainted Sir Peter Hall admits that densification near to train stations is a town planning no-brainer. Crossrail massively increases the sense in putting high density housing near Ealing Broadway station.
Whatever you think of property developers or the council or whoever else we need more homes and near to the station is the sensible place to put them.