Proposals for extra fourth and fifth lanes for our roads reminds me of an ancient Ben Elton sketchdescribing additional lanes on the M25. He compared it to putting another empty swing bin next to a full one. You don’t solve the problem. You just end up with two full bins.
More lanes will not tackle the root cause, let alone the further problems they will create. The historic building footprint around our unique geology, geography, topography, estates, fluvial systems etc, puts physical constraints on what can be done. These constraints must to used, as John Robson says in his letter, to release the steam pressure behind the constant drive for physical growth of infrastructure.
It won’t matter how many houses we build in Guildford Borough: our proximity to London will always outstrip supply. London is not the UK’s hub, it is one of the top global hubs, maybe even the very top one. You only have to look at the number of houses being sold to foreign investors.
Now new figures show that wealthy foreign students are outbidding the corporate sector in rentals in the centre of London to access our outstanding universities. Wealthy Chinese families are all planning to send their kids abroad.
These are all big property boulders thrown into our national pond from abroad, creating property ripples out to the suburbs and subsequent pressure on the green belt.
Why should we convert our green fields of our own future generations into Ben Elton’s “swing bins”?