Tuesday 30 August 2016

Who can afford to live in Mill Hill?

I recently noticed that a fairly ordinary house in my road was on the market for over £1 million. I was quite shocked. I bought my house from my parents in 1987 and apart from a spell 1981-1987 have always lived there.

When I was a kid, the road was inhabited with families. We'd play in the street, go to the park and be in and out of each other's homes. Our mums would feed whoever turned up. All of the houses have gardens. These would host football, tennis, volleyball and frisbee games. My friends parents were teachers, nurses, sailors, accountants, builders, doctors and mechanics. 

We were ethnically diverse for the time. There were Irish families, Indian families, Jewish families, South American families and probably a few others. None of our parents were what one may consider rich. Most had mortgages at 3 times their salary.

I cannot imagine any of the professions above being able to support a £1 million mortgage so what future do our children have, if they want to stay local? I don't want Mill Hill to become a gated enclave for the rich. I believe gardens are good for children, but the rabbit hutch flats going up all over Barnet have none. They simply will create a generation of unhealthy, Internet addicted, consumerised slobs. It is a tragedy.


Anonymous said...

Nothing new here. Mill Hill has been expensive for many years. The only practical solution is building proper houses on the greenbelt/green areas/farms nearby. Look at NW7 on Google Maps Earth view and there is so much room available. It is a travesty that the people of Barnet have not demanded this for the sake of their children. The greenbelt restrictions may have been relevant 50 years ago but due to changes in society its time to lose a bit of green that no-one has real access to - to enable a revitalised society.
Time to pave that greenbelt. Bring in the bulldozers.

Rog T said...

I really don't think trashing the countryside to build ever more luxury flats is a sustainable solution. As to the green belt being inaccessible, I walk on it every day. You should try it, it may help reduce that girth

Anonymous said...

I think we both want to see more family homes built in and around mill hill. where do you want them if not on greenbelt?
Or are you worried that if the supply increases it will mean your home is 'worth' less?
What % of NW7 residents use the greenbelt on a daily basis?
You could still keep Arrendene but make room elsewhere - for 100s of houses.
Have a look at my map. 500 acres of space identified that is under utilised.
That is enough room for 500 family detached houses, adequate parking, facilities etc


Rog T said...

There's no shortage of sites. The issue is they are all being built as unaffordable luxury accommodation and marketed to people outside of the Borough. I would compel all developers putting up developments of more than 7 properties to have to build council accomodation for families on low incomes. Many properties in Mill Hill have been bought by overseas investors who don't use them. I would charge triple community charge on second homes as a deterrent and have additional bands at the top for mansions.

Anonymous said...

Rog - I agree. I think the current situation forces developers to focus on luxury market to get a decent return. Opening up more land for building would enable more affordable options. Larger sites would be more economical for developers and sensible planning policies could force developers to include housing for low income households.

Alternatively Barnet council could get back into the business of building a new council estate in mill hill. I would love to see the reaction by the mill hill nimby's to a suggestion like this!

I also think pressure on house prices comes from having over-subscribed schools. Families have to pay $$$ to get a house near school gate. If you relaxed planning these schools could be expanded and they wouldnt get oversubscribed. Single form entry schools are nice but inefficient.

I think the EtzChain school could have been built as a multistorey building to accommodate 3 form entry?..........but no, the nimby's didnt want to make mill hill a good place for families to live.
or they wanted to protect the status quo which meant high house prices

Broadway Blogger said...

We should not forget the massive developments in Mill Hill East which include the former MOD Site and will soon include the Catholic Missionaries Site and the NMRI site. If you also consider the huge developments in Grahame Park and around the Police College - there are many tens of thousands of homes being built in or very near to Mill Hill. The Pentavia Park development will add hundreds more and possibly in Ten Story tower blocks which will set a precedent to build beyond the current 5 story limit. All property in London is now priced out of the range of ordinary workers. It is not a Mill Hill problem - it is because foreign investment has purchased the centre of London at vastly inflated prices and that has had a knock on effect all the way to the Home Counties. A flat in down at heel West Hendon is now starting at £420,000 I read on an advertisement at West Hampstead Thameslink.....that is the real situation in North London. Building on our Greenbelt is not the answer because those homes would cost £3 million plus. The answer is a social housing project like the one that created Burnt Oak. The current Tory Government and Council would be ideologically opposed to this. Definitely lets keep our greenbelt - today's pollution figures announced by the Neighbourhood Forum should warn us all that we already have too many cars and roads in the area and need to keep our "lungs" of greenery or we will also die early from some of the worst pollution in North West London ! Great article Roger and it really highlights how London is now a City for the rich only. That is another reason why music venues for ordinary people have emptied and are being turned into flats.

Anonymous said...

The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 brought in the notion a Green Belt. They did not know then what London would look like in 2016. Its time to increase the supply of land and build some more houses. Even if they were build 1000 x £3m houses it would be good for the area and free up cheaper homes for normal folk.