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Comment: More homes are required for our young families
11:07am Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Opinion
South Lakeland District Council leader PETER THORNTON explains why introducing the land allocations plan, which indentified potential housing and employment sites, as soon as possible is vital for the area . . .
Can I start with a confession? I like watching boxed sets of DVDs. Curling up on the sofa for a ‘TV fest’ is my perfect weekend, especially when it’s raining outside.
I’ve just started watching “From the Earth to the Moon”, an amazing story of the race to put a man on the moon.
I’ve always been fascinated by the space race, it must have been reading all those Dan Dare comics as a child!
The titles have John F Kennedy declaring, on May 25, 1961, that he was setting as a goal the ‘landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth’.
What an incredible commitment for a politician to make, even for the President of the most powerful nation on earth.
This was 52 years ago! In 1961 the mini and the Ford Anglia were the latest in motoring. The personal computer hadn’t been thought of, Pete Best was still the Beatles drummer and televisions consisted of big expensive cabinets with tiny black and white screens. There were no mobile phones!
There were no rockets capable of propelling a man to the moon and there was no workable way to land a man and to return to earth.
Only a couple of manned space flights had been made and no-one had orbited the earth, let alone the moon. It was thought possible that men would not survive weightlessness for prolonged periods.
Despite all of this, President Kennedy went out and made the commitment to go to the moon within just over eight and a half years.
Contrast this with the fact nowadays that it seems to take this long to build a roundabout!
We live in a very different world in 2013 but sometimes the challenges seem even greater than sending a man to the moon Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were possible to make a commitment that we would, by the end of this decade, build enough houses for every family to have a home?
We have builders, we have bricks and we have plenty of land. There are no technical problems; it’s just a question of joining everything together.
Coincidentally it’s taken about eight and a half years to produce our land allocations proposals, which will determine where housing and employment land will be located in South Lakeland.
That’s not the fault of the council, just the consequence of an overly long and bureaucratic process that has seemed to take forever.
The truth is that in 1961 the US was at war with the Soviet bloc. It was at war on the ground in parts of the world and at war in space as the West sought to avoid going to bed under a red communist moon.
War makes things possible that don’t seem to happen in peacetime. It reminds us of what we are capable of if we really put our minds to it, and are not prepared to accept defeat.
We have young people growing up in South Lakeland who have little prospect of a well-paid job and no chance at all of owning their own homes.
They are being squeezed out by wealthy people retiring here and driving house prices to unsustainable levels.
People have always retired to South Lakeland, this is nothing new. The problem is that we just are not building enough houses throughout the UK and this is having a severe effect here in our area.
We need our local plan and we hope to bring it to our council this autumn.
It’s a small step for those of us with houses, but a huge step for our families and young people who need these new homes.
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