The words “garden village” give rise in me to feelings of helplessness and despair. This was certainly the case after reading the article “Uproar in the garden of England as homes plan swallows up villages" (notizia).
Stuck on to the south of Carlisle, a so-called garden village comprising 10,000 houses will be built in the near future. The destruction of agricultural land, woodland areas and other aspects of the rural Cumbrian landscape is apparently of no importance. Also of little importance appears to be the fact that within Carlisle there are 1,000 empty houses. In the nearby market town of Wigton, più di 100 empty houses are quietly mouldering. If this is the situation in Cumbria, it is probably the same dismal picture all over the UK – decaying empty buildings and brownfield sites put to no good use.
Many years ago, I lived in Kent. As a schoolgirl, I and a close friend spent happy hours cycling in the countryside, and one of our favourite haunts was a steep hill near Westerham. In the distance we could see Chartwell, Churchill’s country pile. I wonder what he would think of the urbanisation of the garden of England. It might have brought on one of his bouts of depression.
Why does Gareth Rubin assume the planned houses in Kent will be a bad thing? Please don’t listen to the nimbys. No one wants more high-rise flats but if we build traditional houses with decent gardens, the birds, bees and insects will be fine. Just plant trees and lavender. Or even weeds; bees love dandelions.
Re “Catholics who aren’t religious” (Lettere): 20-odd years ago, when Clare Short was secretary of state for international relations, she went on a fact-finding mission to former Yugoslavia, where she met groups of “ethnic Muslims”. On her return, she said that she’d discovered from that encounter that she was an “ethnic Catholic”.
The Institute for Public Policy Research report highlighting the worsening north/south divide and the inequality of public investments in the two regions draws attention to how public investments affect land value and therefore land wealth, which is concentrated in the ownership of a few ("Levelling up? No… figures show divide is widening", notizia).
Economists and politicians have enough evidence to show how good public investment in transport, education, healthcare, green spaces etc makes areas more desirable for homes and businesses to locate, pushing up land values. Given that taxpayers from all over the UK pay for public investments, why don’t taxpayers all over the UK share equally in the economic benefits such investments bring about?
If our distorted and unfair tax system were changed to one based on returning all land and other natural resource wealth to the public purse, then we could have equality and fairness in society and a sustainable source of funding for maintaining and developing our public services and an economy that makes us use our land and other natural resources sparingly helping provide a clean environment to all.
The inspiration for the Red House in Dorset is not CFA Voysey or Louis Kahn, it is Bayko, the British construction toy popular in the 1940s and 50s (Architecture, the New Review). The pitched roof, arched entrance, curved bay windows and brick panels will be unmistakable to anyone who created model buildings using Bayko’s red, white and green Bakelite pieces.
The appalling case of a baby stillborn in a prison toilet shows it is high time we followed the lead of other countries that have had the common sense to pass legislation preventing imprisonment of pregnant women ("Trauma of jailing pregnant women puts babies at risk, study warns", notizia).
The Swiss Criminal Code allows a “departure from the rules governing the execution of sentences in the favour of an inmate in the event of pregnancy”. Swedish law allows sentence postponement when a female inmate is pregnant, the duration of which is determined by what is considered to be reasonable. Even in China, the law allows for a woman sentenced to imprisonment to temporarily serve her sentence outside prison while pregnant. Prison is not, and will never be, a safe place for pregnant women. Inmate healthcare is evidently a grey area in UK legislation and when the NHS, responsible for the provision of healthcare in detained settings, last published a report summarising strategic directives for improving healthcare in the justice system, pregnancy was not even mentioned.
Where will it all end – do we have to remove Picasso’s work from public view because he was a deeply unpleasant man ("Sometimes a statue is indefensible – the BBC should get rid of Eric Gill", Comment)? Human beings are often nasty, messy, contradictory, complicated, wonderful beings. Often within the same person. We have to be able to separate these qualities and appreciate that which is of great value while rejecting that which is unacceptable. Without diminishing either.
The residents of one of the apartment buildings on Bellway Homes’ Printworks development in Reading might want to consider renaming their building. All three are named for popular typefaces: Lucida and Helvetica are fine; the other one is Perpetua, a beautiful typeface designed by Eric Gill.
Louisa Young claims the heart and penis are the only human organs that move other than under voluntary control ("Hindu gods, Aztec rites, Blondie hits… why the heart is humanity’s eternal symbol", Focus). Has she never seen an episode of Call the Midwife, all of which portray the ability of the uterus to move of its own accord?
Anche, our intestines and other organs shift our food along the alimentary canal with little regard for our wishes. Finalmente, the skin, has the ability to – quite literally – make our hair stand on end. As in other aspects of life, there are limits to how much one can take back control.