The property profiteers

The frenzy to speculate on the housing market or own multiple homes has a dangerous downside

On the very day we were warned by the Financial Services Authority that Britain may have its own sub-prime problem, Channel 4 announced that it would commission 55 more episodes of its property show A Place in the Sun. So viewers will still get their fix of this most aspirational of property programmes where people, often including young couples who feel they can’t get a foot on the UK property ladder, are encouraged to follow their dreams.

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Regeneration games

While housebuilders circle the greenbelt like sharks, vast tracts of urban land lie derelict

It is fortunate that tomorrow’s urban summit, evaluating “urban renaissance” in the UK, will be held in Birmingham. Because the city, along with Manchester and Newcastle, is one of the few places in the country where there are any signs of urban renewal at all. Most other cities are still in crisis. In the north-west, vast tracts of urban land lie derelict, while in the south-east the failure to transform cities, especially London, into places worth living in means our countryside is under ever-increasing threat. Housebuilders catering for city escapees are grabbing ever-larger chunks of countryside.