Showing posts from March, 2023

The State of the Old Canals

  I live near the Paddington Arm of the Regent’s Canal. Over forty years I have used it ( and many other canals) for cycling, running and canoeing. What happens to them matters to me, and presumably others who enjoy ‘the quiet waters by’. (I had to get in my first ever quote from a hymn! Brownie point?).     The waterways used to be under the wing the state, but were ‘privatised’ into the charitable arms of the CRT in 2012, with a dowry of land and old ancillary buildings. Because these didn’t produce much income, they were also given an annual grant to tide them over during what it was hoped would be a transition into a fully self-funded organisation. Now, the CRT is also able to negotiate contributions to improvements from firms developing adjacent land, through the Town Planning process. Some of the estate they inherited clearly has value, but a lot of it hasn't and I don't get the impression that the CRT are good at wringing cash out of it.   Little Venice  Over that period

Point Gourde & English Housing

  Do you want a break from the wind and rain-lashed countryside hereabouts, preferably somewhere with more than the bleak view of bare street trees from your living room window? Transform yourself, shut your eyes and think of Point Gourde, a small but perfectly formed peninsula in Trinidad, an emerald in a sapphire sea, with a neat yacht harbour at Coral Cove. Amazingly, this sleepy, sunny little corner of the world played a role in creating our housing shortage here in Southern England. I refer, of course, to the matter of Pointe Gourde Quarrying and Transport Co Ltd v Sub-Intendant of Crown Lands 1947, a legal case about a UK Government plan to buy land for a limestone quarry in  Trinidad to facilitate the building of a US Naval Base.   I know that in the leader post on this Blog I said ‘no diatribes’. But I am going to permit myself one. But just in case you think I am losing the plot at this point I will add that Point Gourde is indeed mostly underlain by limestone and low r