This week’s Economist includes an article discussing the tension between people wanting to live in large houses with gardens, agreeing that more should be built, and people’s desire that these should be built far away.

The housing at what was Royal Air Force Wroughton illustrates this tension and the unpleasant conseqences of planning rules. I stopped by to take these photos this morning.

Planning in action at Wroughton

Three features are noticable. There are vast, fallow fields stretching to the Ridgeway. The old officers’ married quarters are set spaciously in what amounts to wooded parkland and each is, as a minimum, a house with three double bedrooms and a good garden. The new development has almost no space and it places cramped houses on top of one another, right up to the pavement.

The problem is that new developments are loathsome, so of course people loathe them. We should do better but, in the meantime, the slums of the future are being built in the midst of a beautiful country.

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