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East West rail, Bletchley to oxford line


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6 hours ago, chris p bacon said:

 

You obviously have no idea about what the traffic flows are like in this part of the region.   1 mile+ tailbacks at Black cat heading East/West is not 'light' during the quiet periods of the day. I travel the A43 often and it doesn't compare to the A428.

As for house building needing a road as 'cover' it doesn't, Roads are now paid for out of house building from developer levy ( I know, I pay it!) It's now called Community Infrastructure Levy (Was section 106)  The reality is that people want to live in the South East, and we have, over the last couple of decades not built enough houses to allow for the population increase. so are having to catch up.  

 

But without wishing to be especially controversial, the core issue is that the country, and the world in general, is over-populated, whilst no-one is making the slightest effort to address this.

The sustainable population of the UK is a little over half of the current figure, and if ever there was a key driver of climate change, this is it.

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10 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

A lot of that housing is being built precisely because HM Government have been heavily prompting the Oxford - Cambridge arc as a development corridor with new roads and a railway to come.

 

Had the Government not been promoting its 'vision' for the Oxford - Cambridge arc then its quite possible that said developments might not exist where they do today.

 

New housing replacing farmland around Oxford is nothing new - In 1964, when my Mum and Dad bought their house in Oxford, it was the last one in the road, and the smell of new-mown grass still evokes childhood memories of watching over the garden fence as the farmer cut the hay. Within less than 10 years those fields had been replaced by a housing estate !

 

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Demographic statistics I saw recently suggest that the UK population is peaking because life expectancy is no longer increasing and birthrates are well down on the past, even the recent past. The result will be an ageing population with a smaller proportion working and paying taxes, and a greater proportion needing to live close to essential services as they will be unable to drive and will need more such services. Add in reduced life expectations because of increased obesity. This is not the place to discuss immigration etc but the point I want to make is that we may not be building the right kind of new housing in the right places. Suburban estates and miles from any jobs with no local services will be useless if there are not enough fit and working people to live in them. It is noticeable that here in Newtown where the population is ageing more than the national average two recent large developments have been sheltered housing so someone has seen the signs. There are still proposals for new estates on the fringes though, also in villages with very limited local services and no jobs for 20 miles.

So where are the jobs and services going to be for all these houses on the Oxford-Cambridge axis?

BTW there are 27,000 empty houses in Wales which equates to 2 years' supply. Does anyone know the figures for other areas? Here in Newtown it is the central terraced houses from the industrial era which seem to stay empty longest - though I live in one very happily (built c1830s) and it will probably outlast the late 1960s house I lived in in Harpenden.

So the point is that it is not just about transport or housing demand looked at simplistically in terms of number of "semis" being built. It is a lot more complex.

BTW I believe we should not be building on first grade farming land or flood plains but we seem to do both.

And this does not even begin to address the need to reduce travel to reduce energy use, emissions etc.

Jonathan

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1 hour ago, Tony Teague said:

 

But without wishing to be especially controversial, the core issue is that the country, and the world in general, is over-populated, whilst no-one is making the slightest effort to address this.

The sustainable population of the UK is a little over half of the current figure, and if ever there was a key driver of climate change, this is it.

 

You are absolutely correct Tony,  but any meaningful attempt to reduce the population is always going to be controversial.

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30 minutes ago, corneliuslundie said:

..... It is noticeable that here in Newtown where the population is ageing more than the national average two recent large developments have been sheltered housing so someone has seen the signs. There are still proposals for new estates on the fringes though, also in villages with very limited local services and no jobs for 20 miles.

 

BTW there are 27,000 empty houses in Wales which equates to 2 years' supply. Does anyone know the figures for other areas? ....

 

Which is a problem given the greatest demand for new housing (in ALL its forms) is on London ad the SE!

 

Yes nationally we may have plenty of housing stock available - but its not located where demand is most acute (nor always in he best of condition).

 

In the long term, economic rebalancing of the economy would help even out housing demand - but don't kid yourself that it will be quick, easy or acceptable to voters when general elections happen.

 

Thus in the short to medium term we face building ever more hoses in the SE or invest massively in transport infrastructure to facilitate long distance commuting.

 

This BBC article is very timely... https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49787913

 

 

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16 minutes ago, corneliuslundie said:

Demographic statistics I saw recently suggest that the UK population is peaking because life expectancy is no longer increasing and birthrates are well down on the past, even the recent past. The result will be an ageing population with a smaller proportion working and paying taxes, and a greater proportion needing to live close to essential services as they will be unable to drive and will need more such services. Add in reduced life expectations because of increased obesity. This is not the place to discuss immigration etc but the point I want to make is that we may not be building the right kind of new housing in the right places. Suburban estates and miles from any jobs with no local services will be useless if there are not enough fit and working people to live in them. It is noticeable that here in Newtown where the population is ageing more than the national average two recent large developments have been sheltered housing so someone has seen the signs. There are still proposals for new estates on the fringes though, also in villages with very limited local services and no jobs for 20 miles.

So where are the jobs and services going to be for all these houses on the Oxford-Cambridge axis?

BTW there are 27,000 empty houses in Wales which equates to 2 years' supply. Does anyone know the figures for other areas? Here in Newtown it is the central terraced houses from the industrial era which seem to stay empty longest - though I live in one very happily (built c1830s) and it will probably outlast the late 1960s house I lived in in Harpenden.

So the point is that it is not just about transport or housing demand looked at simplistically in terms of number of "semis" being built. It is a lot more complex.

BTW I believe we should not be building on first grade farming land or flood plains but we seem to do both.

And this does not even begin to address the need to reduce travel to reduce energy use, emissions etc.

Jonathan

 

Agree with everything you say, and it brought to mind that when I worked for a large corporate in the past we were always told that increasing use of technology would ensure that in the future we would all enjoy more leisure time and retire earlier....:scratchhead:

Later, we were told that the internet would mean that we would all work from home, so far less commuting would be needed!:crazy:

The trick is to spot whatever illusuions are currently being peddled, and to stay ahead of the curve!

Tony

 

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3 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

In the log term, economic rebalancing of the economy would help even out housing demand - but don't kid yourself that it will be quick, easy or acceptable to voters when general elections happen.

 

 

...or that it will ever actually be achieved...

 

The BBC article was interesting but it didn't actually quote numbers for unoccupied properties in the 'wrong' locations, which would certainly be powerful.

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19 minutes ago, corneliuslundie said:

Demographic statistics I saw recently suggest that the UK population is peaking because life expectancy is no longer increasing and birthrates are well down on the past, even the recent past. The result will be an ageing population with a smaller proportion working and paying taxes, and a greater proportion needing to live close to essential services as they will be unable to drive and will need more such services. Add in reduced life expectations because of increased obesity. This is not the place to discuss immigration etc but the point I want to make is that we may not be building the right kind of new housing in the right places. Suburban estates and miles from any jobs with no local services will be useless if there are not enough fit and working people to live in them. It is noticeable that here in Newtown where the population is ageing more than the national average two recent large developments have been sheltered housing so someone has seen the signs. There are still proposals for new estates on the fringes though, also in villages with very limited local services and no jobs for 20 miles.

So where are the jobs and services going to be for all these houses on the Oxford-Cambridge axis?

BTW there are 27,000 empty houses in Wales which equates to 2 years' supply. Does anyone know the figures for other areas? Here in Newtown it is the central terraced houses from the industrial era which seem to stay empty longest - though I live in one very happily (built c1830s) and it will probably outlast the late 1960s house I lived in in Harpenden.

So the point is that it is not just about transport or housing demand looked at simplistically in terms of number of "semis" being built. It is a lot more complex.

BTW I believe we should not be building on first grade farming land or flood plains but we seem to do both.

And this does not even begin to address the need to reduce travel to reduce energy use, emissions etc.

Jonathan

 

Employment is unlikely to prove an issue here - The towns of Cambridge and Oxford are actually struggling to recruit enough workers - particularly as their universities make them very attractive for high tech industries or research labs.

 

Moreover London itself still provides many opportunities and anywhere on the Oxford - Cambridge arc is well within normal commuting territory. However all this extra commuting demand will struggle to be accommodated on current arteries - which s why the removal of long distance express trains from the WCML and onto HS2 is desirable as it makes space for extra train services.

 

Services (i.e. medical centres, schools and community facilities) will obviously require expansion to cope - and this is where those living in  the affected areas need to be kicking up a stink and making sure the Governments own departments or developers shy away from providing the required funding.

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"Services (i.e. medical centres, schools and community facilities) will obviously require expansion to cope - and this is where those living in  the affected areas need to be kicking up a stink and making sure the Governments own departments or developers shy away from providing the required funding."

Couldn't agree more. What hope?

J

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3 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

 

Agree with everything you say, and it brought to mind that when I worked for a large corporate in the past we were always told that increasing use of technology would ensure that in the future we would all enjoy more leisure time and retire earlier....:scratchhead:

Later, we were told that the internet would mean that we would all work from home, so far less commuting would be needed!:crazy:

The trick is to spot whatever illusuions are currently being peddled, and to stay ahead of the curve!

Tony

 

There does seem to be evidence that people are working from home, not necessarily full time but one or two days per week.  Among other things this is hitting the revenue of the commuter train operators.  Building railway lines like EWR to serve new housing must surely be part of the response to looming problems like an ageing population and probably reducing car use in response to climate change.  It's not the whole response though - we need to sort out the bus deregulation mess for a start.  

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4 hours ago, Tony Teague said:

 

Agree with everything you say, and it brought to mind that when I worked for a large corporate in the past we were always told that increasing use of technology would ensure that in the future we would all enjoy more leisure time and retire earlier....:scratchhead:

 

It could've done. If the job of the technology is fundamentally to increase productivity you can either use that increase to keep the same output with less effort or pour it in to more growth. That's why it managed to get us out of pretty harsh lifestyles, by providing the essentials reliably without the same degree of back-breaking labour (improvements in things such as medicine are related but slightly different). But since we've evolved in an environment where we always had a drive to acquire more, because it was necessary to drive us hard enough to stand a chance of acquiring enough, we're not mentally equipped to switch off at a point and enjoy less work when more stuff could be on offer instead.

 

At least that's my theory.

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Later, we were told that the internet would mean that we would all work from home, so far less commuting would be needed!:crazy:

Something I'm not at all keen on, I like to keep my home life and work life completely separate. More people with nearby jobs would be an improvement though, but the economic growth from centralisation (more efficient in the office / factory in terms of manpower but more commuting) inevitably won out. Yes, home working may actually attenuate that, whether it's full time or just a day or two a week, but I don't find it a particularly pleasant vision of the future.

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3 hours ago, Reorte said:

Something I'm not at all keen on, I like to keep my home life and work life completely separate. More people with nearby jobs would be an improvement though, but the economic growth from centralisation (more efficient in the office / factory in terms of manpower but more commuting) inevitably won out. Yes, home working may actually attenuate that, whether it's full time or just a day or two a week, but I don't find it a particularly pleasant vision of the future.

It's highly variable. Personally, if I'm "Working from home" I need some very specific stuff to concentrate on, or it's very much "working" as opposed to actually doing anything useful. I like the social aspect of going to the office, too. On the other hand, my brother in law has worked pretty much exclusively from home for several years now and it works really well for him.

 

Having the choice is a massive step forward and a great benefit to living in the early 21st century, but as with almost every choice, option A doesn't work for everyone and nor does option B.

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4 hours ago, Reorte said:

More people with nearby jobs would be an improvement though, but the economic growth from centralisation (more efficient in the office / factory in terms of manpower but more commuting) inevitably won out. Yes, home working may actually attenuate that, whether it's full time or just a day or two a week, but I don't find it a particularly pleasant vision of the future.

The other driver has been two-income households.  It's quite likely that the two earners' workplaces are some distance apart, so at least one of them will have to commute.  This relates to the more diffuse travel pattern where instead of everyone commuting to the same place they have many different workplaces, many in areas with poor public transport.  Car ownership allows this diffuse travel pattern (at least up to the point where everyone's doing it and causing congestion) and unless you're very clever or lucky locating yourself in relation to public transport routes continued car ownership is necessary to sustain it.  

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18 minutes ago, Edwin_m said:

The other driver has been two-income households.  It's quite likely that the two earners' workplaces are some distance apart, so at least one of them will have to commute.  This relates to the more diffuse travel pattern where instead of everyone commuting to the same place they have many different workplaces, many in areas with poor public transport.  Car ownership allows this diffuse travel pattern (at least up to the point where everyone's doing it and causing congestion) and unless you're very clever or lucky locating yourself in relation to public transport routes continued car ownership is necessary to sustain it.  

And the fact is, unless one of the two earns substantially above average, most households need two incomes.

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Interesting how this thread and the one about free public transport have converged on the same set of issues, which are really about the dual unsustainability(sp?) and unpleasantness that have come into being as a result of ‘the modern lifestyle’, certainly in the southern part of England (I don’t know the north well enough to comment).

 

On the ‘two incomes needed to live’ thing: to me this is perhaps the most unpleasant unintended consequence of the combination of things that constitute ‘the modern lifestyle’, the thing that really makes a high percentage of people’s lives a real rat race. What the impact will be on the next generation, those parented under this lifestyle, goodness only knows.

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I would say that here in Aylesbury the majority of people work away from the town in places such as Thame MK London the schools are bursting at the seams surgeries are full and yet new houses are springing up all round the town.These new developments have no shops or surgeries but they do have one thing in common , a bus service sponsored by the county council.These services are well used with a good mix of passengers and usually on fifteen minute timings but it is the only good thing the council does mostly they pay lip service to their duties.  There is talk of link roads some starting very soon but more houses will follow them, obviously this happening all over the south east .What will be the result,  the removal of private transport will not happen as there will never be enough public transport to cope. When Travelling to London the train starts to get busy from Stoke Manderville onwards mainly because its easier to drive there instead of fighting through Aylesbury in the rush hour.We are lucky with good rail links which get used ,train to Risboro and change for Brum and the rest of theworld and soon a train to MK which will be an excellent gain.The future here seems to be one of homes growth but not work on a big scale plenty of small units making people travel for work  ,sadly this is not confined here I think, its happening everywhere .Whats the answer I have not a clue and neither has the state.

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4 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

On the ‘two incomes needed to live’ thing: to me this is perhaps the most unpleasant unintended consequence of the combination of things that constitute ‘the modern lifestyle’, the thing that really makes a high percentage of people’s lives a real rat race. What the impact will be on the next generation, those parented under this lifestyle, goodness only knows.

 

Two incomes isn't neeeded to live but it's probably necessary if you have a family. Just how much that's an inevitable consequence of modern lifestyles and how much is simply down to current economic factors that can change independently of the lifestyles available I'm not sure. Certainly the high cost of housing probably isn't directly related. The pressures of the rat race - to a degree I think they're self-imposed, at least those aspects which leave people saying they never have time to do anything. To a degree.

 

Two incomes would definitely be needed to build and house my dream layout, although if I tried spending it on that I expect I'd be back to a single income pretty darned quickly!

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1 hour ago, ess1uk said:

Has Bedford to Cambridge route been decided yet?

 

Not yet, we've had part of the consultation with the proposed corridors. The one (near) fixed point is where it would access Cambridge which is near Shepreth Branch Junction. 

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How long a time scale are we looking at Bedford Cambridge its a very congested area and I imagine that any route will be contested in a robust manner .Along with the expressway this could the last straw for many along with the overpriced boxes that will doubtless follow

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1 hour ago, lmsforever said:

How long a time scale are we looking at Bedford Cambridge its a very congested area and I imagine that any route will be contested in a robust manner .Along with the expressway this could the last straw for many along with the overpriced boxes that will doubtless follow

 

It's not congested and there are very clear corridors which the railway can use to access Cambridge, in fact If there was a wish to use it the original route through the middle of Bedford still exists with no obstructions.  This part of Bedfordshire and the proposed route into Cambridge is classed as 'rural' so there aren't the issues that you seem to see.

The options are whether it takes in the new development of the Wixams to the South of Bedford which was promised a station when it was built, or it goes into Bedford and reverses (as an option)

 

As for EW being contested, during the consultaton process the overwhelming vote was positive and for it, the only objections have come from villages which don't want any development at all.

As for 'overpriced boxes' they're coming first and are what is paying for the road infrastructure on the A428 between Black Cat and Caxton Gibbet.

 

I have to say I find your attitude to the project rather negative, with your opinions having no basis in fact. If you read the consultation you would know the timescale. 

 

 

Edited by chris p bacon
typo
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I am not sure about this two income thing any more. I was very surprised to read a recent report which stated that a woman needed to earn £40,000 a year to be better off than not working if she had to pay for commercial child care for two children. I know that in many cases the child care is done by grandparents, but there must be a significant number of couples who do not realise that they are worse off than they would be with the wife at home (or the husband of course). Have the "women's  lib" generation walked into this trap without realising?

And on commuting, I notice that TfL is introducing a carnet system to allow for those who do not commute every day.  I understand that some other operators have too. Why has it taken so long ion Britain?

Jonathan

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I most certainly believe in this project and have followed all the false starts fantastic ideas for an important rail link that has finally been approved.l  am very annoyed that the wires are not going up maybe the lack of them to Didcot swayed the decision but an opportunity has been lost and probably wont happen for years.The line had been an important freight link and I can remember seeing regular freights passing through but the wcml and mml were the destination of them.We even had parcel trains from H Wycombe to Northampton via Bletchley but I think that new line has been watered down in content from what I first saw at the roadshow events but even then you could tell that it was to be descoped .When ever I asked about the final section the answer was that is a problem due to problems with routing and possible strong protests.Now with three routes at least there is a chance for it to happen ,what I am worried about is will the passengers come to this section I hope they will as from my memories of working in and around  the city it was murder to move about.

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"Have the "women's  lib" generation walked into this trap without realising?"

 

Yes, I firmly believe that people have gone from the frying pan to the fire, which was what I was hinting at above. And, "the women's lib generation" includes both the men and the women of course, this isn't just a "women thing".

 

The 'modern lifestyle' requires , in most cases, that parents have a job each, a car each to get to the job (and/or a significant season ticket cost each), complicated and/or expensive childcare arrangements, possibly someone to come in and do a bit of the cleaning, because otherwise nobody has time to do it, a diet that is overly reliant on ready-meals, etc etc, all amounting to a big heap of expense and stress.

 

And, it's pretty much inescapable in Southern England (I'm largely ignorant of how things work out in the north), because the typical salary of one parent won't raise a sufficient mortgage to buy even a modest family home within a short distance of their job, even at the high multiples of income currently available due to low interest rates. I firmly believe that the financial component of this is about housing costs compared to wages, not the growth in material possessions that we all seem to "need", because the real prices of things like white goods, tellies, clothes, toys etc has fallen over time.

 

And, and, many couples find it borderline impossible to to work the magic of having a 2/3 time job each, which is probably the nearest to a sweet-spot, because there just aren't enough not-full-time-jobs to go around, and many of those that do exist are very poorly paid.

 

Which bits of this equation are cause, and which bits affect, I can't work out, but I see younger colleagues, younger members of the family, older friends who are grandparents with very significant grand-child-care duties, neighbours etc etc, trying to make this 'modern lifestyle' thing work, and it looks both unsustainable (environmentally and in personal terms) and deeply unpleasant for all involved to me.

 

Some people make it work by one parent working from home, and I know several couples where one fits their at-home-work around the children, working a few hours while they are at school, and a few more after they've gone to bed, but that option tends only to apply to fairly highly skilled, in-demand, white collar workers. The ones who I see struggling most are couples where both have hands-on jobs - you can't bring wiring-up an office block, nursing cancer patients, cooking meals in a hotel kitchen, or refurbishing funeral parlours (yes, I know a guy who has that as his trade!) home and do it in the spare bedroom.

 

The old paradigm was one parent (usually man) working, able to just about pay for a family home, and a bored/unfulfilled parent (usually woman) at home, which was a waste of women's skills and potential. The new paradigm requires both parents working to just about afford a family home, driving both scatty in the process. Neither could be called completely satisfactory!

Edited by Nearholmer
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