Britain's Bad Housing

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Ratings: 7.00/10 from 12 users.

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Britain's Bad HousingEarlier this month, Prime Minister Gordon Brown placed housing firmly at the top of the government's agenda, unveiling plans to build three million homes by 2020 - possibly the biggest building programme in Britain for 30 years. But in this edition of Dispatches, reporter Andrew Gilligan investigates the private house builders charged with solving Britain's chronic housing shortage.

Gilligan raises serious concerns about the way in which house-builders currently operate. He exposes the business tactics which are used to manipulate the planning process, questions the quality of houses and shows how public authorities have allowed developers control over housing policy.

Gilligan uncovers the underhand ways in which some developers seek to gain planning permission. He reveals the dirty tricks used by one lobbying company on behalf of a developer in London to influence the local planning committee and discovers cases where developers have made donations to local political parties which control the planning committees - around the same time their applications for profitable developments are being considered.

With housing in three-quarters of the country now too expensive for first-time buyers, Gilligan examines one of the government's key solutions to the astronomical pricing - building more 'affordable' homes. But he discovers that previous attempts to build cheap, good quality homes in the past have failed dismally with prices for flagship schemes inflating by more than three times the original target price.

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Karen

    Those were some of the ugliest pick a pattern match box houses I have ever seen. Modern, when; the modern 70's. Did anybody tell that guy that those arn't big windows. Was there a hugh sale on red bricks? Did they chince on paying for a designer/architect too. Why is everything on a slant in England? Don't they know how to move dirt or are they lacking in heavy machinery like grators? The nicest building in the whole country was the empty one they did the interview in. Definitely, a case FOR out-sourcing! The first step is admitting you have a style problem.

  2. Tom

    @Karen: Given the amount of houses built on flood-planes (at a time of rising sea-levels), I doubt leveling-out these estates would be a good idea.

  3. Caroline Harris

    Empty houses when thousands are homeless? I thought you chaps had funny 'squatter rights' that make the dwellings of squatters owners of the home after a period of time? ;-) Seriously, the 'Them' and the 'Us' in this world is sadly he biggest cauise of social disharmony.

  4. Mauro

    Inspirational documentary, very interesting - slightly scary; might consider it for my dissertation this coming academic year to look at new on market soundproof materials - their economic, sustainable and duration value in relation to layout, micro climate or consumer habits. If you guys have any more suggestions on where I can get more info feel free to contact me.

    @ Karen the buildings are ugly, but they are being bought so that tells you something about the buyer not the construction firms. Everything is on a slant here in England because we live on clay (south east) try build on similar land and expose it to heat and cold with rain and see what happens - its virtually like building it in the marshes one season and on a rock the next...

    @ Caroline - Squatters rights have technically ended as by 2012 Land Registry will have extended to the targeted complete national record (LRA 2002 para 2) of households with owner details on titled land holders. To have squatters rights persons must have 10 years of adverse possession (squat). Which I'm sure you agree - the gig is up.

  5. averageuser

    thats pure reality.where ever you live,theres places like those bad ones,people just never get there.

  6. Dave In Dayton

    I lived there for 4 years ... British homes are too small, too cold and badly made. If I had to live there I would hire Germans to come over and build my house.

  7. Ahmad

    one man can't build one house but 10 men can build 10 houses
    poor people possess only their effort & work we must use building material from surrounding environment & we must decrease dependence on iron & concrete this problem is in every country ......

  8. Jamie Megarity

    not even going to watch this. there is enough bloody houses and enough bloody people. we are a tiny sh*t speck of an island and he wants to fill it with another 3million people??? there is no jobs, no work and no money.
    The only way the UK will ever get better is when everyone buggers off so the demand for jobs lowers, the majority then have money to put into the economy and not into doll dossers pockets, ( i myself am unemployed but refuse to sign on, even though I have paid a lot of tax in the past ) and all the money that is earned (the majority of it, cheap labour from ethnics) stops gettin pumped directly OUT of the UK!

    Someone shoot this m*ron and his cronies

  9. demand_sider

    Britain and America have outsourced enough, don't you think? If people aren't adequately compensated for creating wealth, i.e. building trades, manufacturing, engineering, etc, those occupations lose favor and respect. The real money in both countries is in wealth destruction. Why would England allow Ford to buy Jaguar? Are they absolutely insane? Smart countries (Asia, Germany) protect manufacturing, they don't sell it off. King George may have been insane, but he seems very logical compared to the leadership in Britain today.

  10. demand_sider

    Britain and America have outsourced enough, don't you think? If people aren't adequately compensated for creating wealth, i.e. building trades, manufacturing, engineering, etc, those occupations lose favor and respect. The real money in both countries is in wealth destruction. Why would England allow Ford to buy Jaguar? Are they absolutely insane? Smart countries (Asia, Germany) protect manufacturing, they don't sell it off. King George may have been insane, but he seems very logical compared to the leadership in Britain today.

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