There is a green hill far away without a city wall.

On its slopes there soon will rise

dwellings of impressive size;

with each and every valued plot

a sense of peace as like as not. 


There'll also be a club and spa,

gymnasium and a foodie bar. 


There was a green hill far away without a city wall

where nature has been crucified

to house us one and all. 




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Wed 21st Feb 2018 16:58

Coming back Mark to say your response is welcome and yes, communities don't just happen - I believe they deepen in meaning with history and particularly with the depth of older residents' memories. These of course can't operate in the kind of invading that you describe for commuting. My parents in law considered a move to Wisbech (new builds) but were just scared off by the isolation of the place. The M40 corridor attracted many centre developments to Oxfordshire, and of course it has the Cotswolds, which are quite protected I imagine. Bring back Betjeman with his hatred of "bogus tudor bars." I think it's ok to write wryly but have a deeper centre - i'm sure you'd agree!


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M.C. Newberry

Tue 20th Feb 2018 13:47

Ray - serious or not, you made a pertinent comment about the atmosphere of previously occupied homes.
During my formative years in the West Country, my parents
moved house approx. 20 times and there were certainly
some of the homes that had an "atmosphere" - mostly
good as I can happily recall. But none was a new build.
Martin makes a good point about the lack of focal points -
(like a shop, post office, pub or community hall) in new
developments...highlighted in a very recent peak time TV documentary about housing and planning in Oxfordshire by
those who had bought there. They seemed like bolt-holes
for commuters to the big city!
But enough from me. Thanks again for the poem.

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Mon 19th Feb 2018 22:53

Bring on Joni Mitchell Martin and pave paradise. Interestingly I wonder if some just can't face "second hand " homes, or previously occupied ones. I had such a bad atmosphere in mine from the last occupiers that I had to bless the place. I just got all that bad feeling and told it to piss off. Damn it, come to think of it, my wife wasn't even a virgin when we got married! I'll get my coat.


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Martin Elder

Sun 18th Feb 2018 18:09

Thankfully there are still some parts of the UK that have not yet been built on. But you are right Ray there are far too many cars around usually filled up with people wanting to make an impression and going no where in particular. the world and his dog seem to all have to be car owners.
But where young people get the cash to buy a house or flat now days is a wonder to me.
however when great new estates of housing are built there is no thought at providing the accompanying infu-structure. Sometimes I do feel like an old man bemoaning the fact that is not like it was in my day. But I guess that may well be the way it will always be until we run out of space to accommodate buildings and cars!
Rant over
good poem

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 18th Feb 2018 14:31

Ray - by all means "dignify" my comments and I'll keep commenting. I am fiercely opposed to the loss of our
precious countryside and the excuses offered for its
rapidly increasing momentum, hence my own recollections
in response to your pithy poem. End of story.

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Sun 18th Feb 2018 13:43

HI Suki. A rock and a hard place. I know"quantitive easing" certainly put land buying money in the hands of speculation bankers. They always squeeze our balls, don't they?

Thanks Kevin. Ironically some of the old workers' cottages built for the mines and railway navvies are now worth good money. Trouble is where you get new communities, you have cars in abundance = environment issues plus costs of new railways considerable. Watch this space. I threw in the hymn idea as I think we need help from somehow more celestial.

Thanks Mark. Had to smile at "briefly!." I'll try to dignify your comment as best I can. I easily bought my house in 1979 as a freelance musician (1 year work living at parents gave me the £2000 deposit.) My dad in the legal business said stick to ownership without the lumber of service charges. The estate agents/solicitors/lenders linkup was always an unholy alliance. Disbursements always creamed off first. It is still a minefield with people suffering delays and bullshit. I got my loan from a B.Society. In medieval times land ownership was in few hands, but at least livings were assured and food provided however humble. The black death put paid to that, reducing cheap labour. After the death throes of heavy industry and on the back of social deprivation, it seemed to coincide with increased immigration, within a deliberate political policy. It did Enoch no good to highlight it.
Nothing in society stays the same, and us old'uns will have to get used to it, as our predecessors did in their day. Social diversity can of course be a good thing when prejudices are fought out in the open, forcing give and take on all sides. I hope I presented a few views, and don't want to get bogged down with spinoff arguments!

Thanks so much for hitting the like button, Col, Adam, Charlotte, Pat and Brian.


Love to all you lot.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 17th Feb 2018 19:52

Briefly, back in the mid-80s with similar fears about not
being able to afford rapidly rising house prices, I bought
a L/hold studio flat (near to my present rented flat),
at the going cost of (wait for it!) £25,000 - a very
substantial sum for me then, made possible by selling
virtually everything worth anything I owned to fund the
deposit and ensuing mortgage payments. It took a while
before I saw that leaseholders were victims of whatever
repairs and services the owners saw as "necessary" -
adding increasingly onerous costs to the "delights" of
property ownership. I sold up, adjusting my known future income to accommodate renting a similar place nearby and swore never to buy again.
Property ownership IMHO is basically a "con" for officially encouraged bank mortgages, agents and property
developers. As for the much-touted "shortage" of homes, this is just another con - and you can check the
property for sale/rent supplements in provincial papers
to find plenty of properties available for either purpose.
Finally, with the environment increasingly under strain, it
has been reported that the building industry is responsible for 40% of carbon emissions, with cement "full of carbon and CO2 emissions" (Devon Life magazine-
January 2018). And did you know that chancellor Hammond buys land - and why you may ask? I recall a certain Nicholas Ridley who, as the environment secretary, applied the dismissive term NIMBY to those
protesting against the concrete sprawl engulfing our
shrinking countryside. In 1997 a prominent provincial
newspaper published my letter prophesying the assault
on our countryside with uncontrolled immigration and
development as the major contributory factors. It's no
satisfaction to be proved right with ever increasing
frequency more than twenty years on.

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kJ Walker

Sat 17th Feb 2018 09:48

Interesting Ray. Where we live there are lots of massive building sites popping up. Mostly on brownfield sites, namely the old pit tops.
I wonder who's going to buy them, now that we have lost all our industry.
I liked the way you used an old hymn to make your point

Cheers Kevin

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suki spangles

Sat 17th Feb 2018 01:35

Hi Ray,

Nicely put!

Although I know a few who own property, most of us rent, and that's becoming more difficult. There are some so-called luxury flats not far from me. The "starter homes" are a few hundred thousand, and get sillier from there. I suppose another bank crash will sort it out - or then again, maybe not.


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