Why housing estate is like ‘locust capitalism’

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The proposed housing estate in Kirk Michael is best described as ‘locust capitalism’.

Find a green field; strip all the value out of it; move on.

All the benefits go to the developers, all the infrastructural costs fall to the taxpayer.

Heritage Homes wants to build 95 densely packed houses on a flood plain in Kirk Michael. No-one in the village wants them, our neighbours in Peel don’t want them, nor does anyone who has to drive the north-south route through the Michael bottle-neck.

These houses are not needed.

There is a glut of houses on the market at present, and that is going to increase rapidly over the next 20 years as we baby boomers die off.

The government hopes to attract tax-positive migrants to balance its books. No one with money would choose to live on this estate. There are no services, no facilities, in Michael. They will have to be provided at taxpayer expense.

There are no jobs in Michael, so we are adding 180 commuters, plus or minus, to a bottleneck that is almost at the point of requiring a bypass, and you, gentle reader, will end up paying for that bypass.

I might mention that quality of village life, and property values, will suffer if development goes ahead, and it would be nice, for once, to allow the wishes of the people to prevail over a company that acts very much as it pleases on the island; but my major concern is the timing of this.

I am not alone in being very, very frightened by what is happening in the world.

‘This is the most serious financial crisis we’ve seen at least since the 1930s, if not ever,’ says Mervyn King, chairman of the Bank of England, a man and an organisation not renowned for hysteria.

All that is certain is all of us will suffer. Shrinking incomes imply less tax take. The government must pare its expenditures, limit its forward commitments. It is madness, therefore, to ‘allow’ an unwanted development like this, that will cost the taxpayer money.

The building industry must take its licks like the rest of us. It neither needs nor deserves special treatment. Those of us who are self-employed will adapt or go under.

We are in totally unknown circumstances and the knock-on effect of massive European unemployment and civil unrest will affect us, perhaps in ways we would have found incredible a few years back. Think war-time economy. We depend on the Steam Packet for our food. Add an oil crisis to an economic collapse and we could starve! Those productive green fields we are about to build on could feed a lot of people in the village.

John Rhys-Davies,

Kirk Michael

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