Sunday, 31 March 2013
Second homes. Monstrous carbuncles on the rural scene.
Andrew Motion is president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The poet is a big supporter of the traditional English village if not necessarily traditional English villagers. Motion was raised in a village in Essex but sent away to boarding school at an early age so never developed friendships with the "children from the village". I don't suppose that he was encouraged to hang out with the local kids. Perhaps he never wanted to, and the feeling was probably mutual. Such was then and remains now, the reality of a class ridden rural England. I sometimes wonder if CPRU has simply OD'd on BBC costume drama and would like to have us all back in the world of Lark Rise to Candleford, but the truth is that as a lover of the countryside myself I agree with much that it says. Motion is certainly dead right about the 200,000 second homes that really are a blot on the landscape. There is a housing shortage and there has been for as long as anyone can remember. We do need to build more homes but if we free up second homes and the thousands of unoccupied buildings first we could save building on valuable agricultural land and help ease the housing shortage. This government are very keen on freeing up dwelling space by attacking housing benefit claimants who have a spare room. How about all those middle-class bastards who have spare houses? The blight of second homes is an obscenity and another example of of the kind of greed that no amount of Easter hymn singing in village churches will sanctify.