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Thread: Housing Mistakes

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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    Are there any tower blocks left in Liverpool that are not privately owned?
    Good question. Over the water??

    Ownership, in one form or another, seems to be the key. Whether it's actual freehold or leasehold or renting, if the place doesn't 'belong' to you, more or less permanently, why bother with a lick of paint here or there (some would say)?

    My parents bought 'our' house in the right-to-buy in the 80s. But before that it was always 'theirs' even though they paid rent to council for thirty years before hand.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    ....
    My parents bought 'our' house in the right-to-buy in the 80s. But before that it was always 'theirs' even though they paid rent to council for thirty years before hand.


    .
    Yes, but there seems to be a difference between a house and a flat with large common areas that don't "belong" to you.

    I too have rented a house on Los Angeles in the past and painted it inside to suit us.

    It was sort of funny, the landlady came around to raise our rent $50 per month (it was in the 70's......) because her "taxes went up" - when I found out her taxes went up less than 1$ per month (public record) and she saw how we had improved it - she left the rent the same...

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    Nevertheless, I feel the council had something to answer for in the clear design fault of the piggeries that were of no fault of the people who witheld their rent. It was felt there would be an avalanche of copycat cases so it was nipped in the bud. To say it was only the council's obligation to maintain or repair what was a bad job in the first place is a bit of a raw deal with those who were not hooligans or louts and who were just trying to live their lives in a not too fit for purpose habitat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doris Mousdale View Post
    Perhaps if there was a penalty rate imposed on buildings left to rot in the hope of getting a demolition permit things might look a little different. There should be time limit on leaving buildings derilict with the council stepping in to keep the buildings viable with a charge on the owners equity in the building.
    On the otherhand the experiments that have failed was it the housing or the housed that were the problem. I don't reall any Cornish fishing villages with "criminal rat runs" going through them a few smugglers coves, yes, but most are very desirable places to live.
    Same with tower blocks how come they turned into such a heap of crud in such a short time- in terms of property life span, when in other countries around the world they are accepted as inner city housing. If those tower blocks were privatised dwellings would they still be habitable or even proved to be a good investment?
    It's a pet hate of mine,to see any building left to to deteriorate,and agree there should be some sort of legal timescale set for it's vacancy! One of the reasons that's been suggested to me for this happening is,that when house owners die intestate,the property goes to the Crown,who then add it to the list of same,and that's it! (can anyone confirm this?)
    As for tower blocks,after renovation,some blocks on Netherfield rd.sold quickly enough,some prospective buyers queuing overnight! There are now,another 2 blocks nearing completion,(Candia,and Crete, towers.) but I've not heard how well they're selling,yet!
    As has been mentioned,there were some tenants who didn't appreciate the(any?)accomodation,and unfortunately,that's all it takes to ruin any block/estate/street,the majority tending to suffer in silence!

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    It's a pet hate of mine,to see any building left to to deteriorate,and agree there should be some sort of legal timescale set for it's vacancy!
    Look at Harrisburg in the USA - a victim of the Rust belt decline. Ugly, vacant properties were cleared up by imposing Land Valuation Tax. You pay only on the value of the land not the bricks on top (the building). If empty you still pay the same as if the building is occupied, as the building has no bearing on the tax, only the land under. Speculators cannot leave buildings empty as they are taxed the full amount. Most vacant buildings were brought back to use. Harrisburg is great success story and copied by many in mainly PA, USA.

    Liverpool tried to get LVT with the LibDems to clear up the eyesores in the city. Advisors from the USA came over. Whitehall stopped the lot. The Welsh have just debated LVT in the Assembly - it is gaining ground in the UK with even top Financial Times economists such as Martin Wolf and Sir Sam Brittan falling in behind it.

    http://<a href="http://www.youtube.c...go_QoB6OvE</a>

    The first 10 minutes above is a great explanation of LVT.


    Below, largely the transcript. Note the words:
    discourages speculative land holding.
    encourages active use of land, creating more job opportunities and wealth



    A Land Value Tax for Wales
    LTV is a tax which would be levied on the annual rental value of specific pieces of land, where the value is determined by different usages, for example, agricultural and industrial land. It is, of course, an alternative to existing forms of taxation, not an addition to them. At its most radical, a LVT would allow for the abolition of Council Tax, Business Rates and Stamp Duty Land Tax, by introducing a levy on the annual rental value of every site in Wales including all residential, commercial and farming land, as well as privately owned estates. Moreover, LVT is a progressive tax. Council Tax is regressive because it imposes a lower burden on the rich than on the poor Ė and also a lower burden on rich places than poor places. LVT reverses that proposition.
    The basic idea behind a Land Value Tax is that the supply of land is fixed. As Mark Twain said, when advising people to buy land, they aren't making it any more. As a result, it is inherently scarce. Its price reflects three things: its scarcity value; the value of improvements made by the landowner; and the value of improvements made by other people, especially the public sector. In modern conditions the first and third of these almost entirely swamp the second. Therefore it is right and fair that value created not by the landowner but (mostly) by national and local government should be taxed.
    To give just one practical example: It has been calculated that the Jubilee Line extension to Stratford has raised property values around the stations by £10 billion. If only a small part of this windfall had been taxed, it would have paid for the extension very easily. And, at the same time, while those who benefit from big increases in land values as a result of such development pay more, those whose sites have suffered (such as, for example, housing close to railway tracks which may decline in value because of noise or vibration) would pay less Ė a form of automatic compensation without any complicated appeals system. In just the same way an LVT could easily pay for many other much-needed infrastructure schemes.
    What, then, are the main practical advantages of a LVT?
    First and foremost, such a tax would be tricky for even the rich to avoid. It's hard to hide land or move it offshore to avoid getting taxed.
    For economists such as the OECD's, who advocate a LVT, there are two other big advantages: land taxes (they argue) increase long-term stability and growth by fostering more productive use of capital; and they stabilise government finances by bringing in revenue efficiently and quickly.
    So, a LTV is:

    • cheap to collect
    • difficult to evade
    • discourages speculative land holding
    • encourages active use of land, creating more job opportunities and wealth and, here in Wales, we already have, in TAN 6, `One Planet Development', a policy approach which is sympathetic to land value principles.


    Is it, then, a practical, political possibility? Well, I don't want to underestimate the problems of tackling taxation, especially in an economic downturn. And the experience of the poll tax remains one which has scarred the collective memory of tax change in the property field.
    Nevertheless, a LVT has an impressive economic and social pedigree. Lib Dem supporters have included both Vince Cable and Chris Huhne. For Labour, Andy Burnham made it a centre piece of his campaign for Labour leadership, describing it as an idea so old-Labour it can be traced back to Thomas Paine. It is the official policy of the Green Party in Scotland where research carried out late in 2010 suggested that a land value tax of 3.16p per pound would generate enough cash to replace council tax and the uniform business rate, while leaving 75% of Scottish households better off in the process.
    But LVT is not simply a policy of the radical left. Free-market capitalists and mainstream economists, such as Martin Wolf and Samuel Brittan, have both argued the case in favour. And, indeed, on the right of the political spectrum, a LVT has gained new traction in relation to problems in Greece. Put simply, it is quite difficult to move an Athens mansion off-shore (or, indeed, one in Belgravia) in order to avoid taxation.
    And here in Wales LVT is also an idea with a strong lineage. Inside the Labour Party, the idea was first seriously advanced by Keir Hardy, in his 1906 Manifesto to the people of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare. Here is what he said:
    'The slums remain, overcrowding continues whilst the land goes to waste. Shopkeepers and traders are overburdened with rates and taxation whilst the increasing land values that should relieve the ratepayer
    go to people who have not earned them.'
    Three years later, a Land Value Tax was intended to be the centre piece of Lloyd George's `People's Budget' of 1909, but was defeated by the vested interests of the House of Lords and property owners in the House of Commons. Now, in the era of devolution, there may be a chance for their uncompleted work to be brought to a conclusion in Wales.
    Of course, it may be that the current settlement will not make it easy for such a reform to be introduced in the immediate future; but the whole future of responsibility for taxation is very much a matter of current debate. I hope that, by raising this matter, it can be brought to the attention of the Silk Commission so that it can include a consideration, if not of land value tax itself, then at least of the case for providing the National Assembly with powers to reform taxation in Wales, in this way, should it choose to do so.
    Because here, the part of the United Kingdom with the longest tradition of radicalism, we have no difficulty in understanding the notion that land is `common wealth' Ė that land is a resource in common. As a result of being fixed and fundamental, it should belong to the people; and those who have the privilege of ownership should pay something back for that privilege, through a Land Value Tax. Once this is understood and agreed, the serious work of detailed investigation of its pros and cons and its practical implementation here in Wales can begin.


    http://commissionondevolutioninwales.independent.gov.uk/files/2012/02/Mark-Drakeford-AM-English.pdf


    This is very encouraging. Vince Cable is attempting to get a wealth tax implemented at Whitehall, which is another good sign. Tax wealth not income.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    there were some tenants who didn't appreciate the(any?)accomodation,and unfortunately,that's all it takes to ruin any block/estate/street,the majority tending to suffer in silence!
    Yes, you could put some people in a palace and they would still turn it into a tip.
    I've seen it happen with 'garden houses' - the garden ends up like a dirt patch and full of litter and upturned wheelie bins etc - I pass houses like this almost every day. Even if you can't keep a nice garden, you could at least keep it simple. It doesn't take much effort to pick up the litter around your garden - it's nothing to do with being poor or downtrodden - it's purely a don't care attitude.
    This attitude is what pulls areas down so much.
    I can't understand anyone not wanting to live in a pleasant environment. You can make your own little patch reasonably pleasant even if it's only temporary.
    Even if things are not good through no fault of your own, you can make the best of what you have until things improve, or your own circumstances improve. Being clean and tidy is a start.

  7. #37
    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Nevertheless, I feel the council had something to answer for in the clear design fault of the piggeries that were of no fault of the people who witheld their rent. It was felt there would be an avalanche of copycat cases so it was nipped in the bud. To say it was only the council's obligation to maintain or repair what was a bad job in the first place is a bit of a raw deal with those who were not hooligans or louts and who were just trying to live their lives in a not too fit for purpose habitat.
    As I said, so much for the law... by which I mean judges judge based on evidence presented - the lawyers didn't present the culpability of the design. Perhaps they knew it wouldn't be worthwhile.

    Because in fact the only design fault discussed was the tendency of the cisterns to overflow and the position of the pipes. There is no reason for an emergency stair to be gloriously well-lit (and it's extravagant with 'our' money to do so). It is not a design fault. Nor are lifts that are broken by repeated vandalism - no doubt for a bit of a laugh.

    In the face of such extremes of vandalism the pipes may have been hardly worth bothering with or rather, easily dealt with - normally. But no doubt council were under such financial pressure dealing with the vandalism. If there's no money left in the pot after dealing with lifts, it would not have been a reasonable consideration.

    As the House of Lords said, it's not unreasonable to take into account the available funds to maintain the building (and/or fix defects). In short - you gets what you pays for.


    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    As has been mentioned,there were some tenants who didn't appreciate the(any?)accomodation,and unfortunately,that's all it takes to ruin any block/estate/street,the majority tending to suffer in silence!
    I would certainly not have suffered in silence in such circumstances but I would have been ripping into the dipsticks ****ing in the lifts rather than the council.

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    Lightbulb View on Radcliffe

    Getting back to the Radcliffe estate. I knew one family who lived there and can verify it suffered from dampness when first built. In a short time the damp became mold. I can't say if this was down to the architect's design or cheap construction methods. On a dark night this estate looked forbidding. It might have looked futuristic on the architect's drawing board but- an old cliche- "Would the architect ever live there?"
    Thanks to Ged, Waterways, Lindylou and Pete,the guy who started this thread.
    Chas

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    I have a pet hate for flat roof and so called designer zany shaped roofs that are never going to dispose of rainwater like is needed. You're right in that the architects would never live in these, just try to make selfish personal statements and let some poor other buggers be the guinea pigs.
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    Well said, Ged.
    Chas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I have a pet hate for flat roof and so called designer zany shaped roofs that are never going to dispose of rainwater like is needed. You're right in that the architects would never live in these, just try to make selfish personal statements and let some poor other buggers be the guinea pigs.
    Same goes for the city/urban planners or whatever they call themselves now.

    They follow the world-wide trend of forcing the population into denser housing and to be near "transportation hubs" - but if you ever meet one, ask them where they live. I have done this locally to two of our county planners and they both live in our little town 20 miles outside Tucson, and also drive into work every day...


    My English ex-roomate from the 70's now lectures in Urban Planning in Canada - does he live in one of these green urban utopias that is the now trendy design? -- No he lives on one acre on a small island in the St. lawrence Seaway with a view of Quebec...

    People like different living arrangements, but the planners seem to prefer one version that they say is "good for us". They should just plan a mix...

  12. #42
    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    'The slums remain, overcrowding continues whilst the land goes to waste. Shopkeepers and traders are overburdened with rates and taxation whilst the increasing land values that should relieve the ratepayer go to people who have not earned them.

    ‘Because here, the part of the United Kingdom with the longest tradition of radicalism, we have no difficulty in understanding the notion that land is `common wealth' – that land is a resource in common.’

    Well this may be true for Wales but it certainly isn’t a common tradition in England, much as anyone may wish it otherwise.

    In England at least there is a rather more rounded view of the issue, or rather it’s place at the heart of a state run by capital. In England’s book, wealth creates prosperity and jobs for all. Indeed the creation of wealth is fundamental to the liberal notion of prosperity for all.

    If you are anti-capitalist well fine, argue your corner but don’t hide behind social(ist) idealism as the only alternative for the common good. Widespread wealth is for the common good.

    This city especially needs wealth-creators - we should not be turning them away with a wealth tax cloaked as a Land Value Tax and we don’t. Not that it would particularly work as wealth tax in any event.

    There was a time when property owners smashed toilets to render empty properties unusable and untaxable. Why? Because there was no market for them. They were empty. No-one keeps property empty where there’s a more economically viable market for it - even ‘arry Hyams (of Centrepoint fame) even as a land-bank. A land-bank simply indicates lack of opportunity, or a lack of potential customers.

    ***

    Business rates and income tax go in part to fund infrastructure. That is, the money that builds CrossRail is pre-taxed from the rates and taxes of the better off. The beneficiaries are the people in general that that infrastructure serves (in helping create greater wealth, prosperity and employment). Is it reasonable for these wealth creators, the risk takers, be taxed again for taking that risk?

    At a real and immediate level, there’s gorgeous period properties in Everton, for example, rotting away - not for want of investment but for want of anyone who can afford to occupy them and pay builders, decorators, plumbers, electricians and shopkeepers ie., the common man to service them. We need wealth.

    ---------- Post added at 05:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:03 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I have a pet hate for flat roof and so called designer zany shaped roofs that are never going to dispose of rainwater like is needed. You're right in that the architects would never live in these, just try to make selfish personal statements and let some poor other buggers be the guinea pigs.
    Well as an architect, I'm not having that am I?

    There's a bizillion buildings with flat roofs and 'zany' shapes that are all perfectly waterproof. There's many that aren't. Some buildings are built well. Others aren't. Some buildings are maintained. Others aren't. There are almost as many reason for building failure as they are building failures.

    But one thing is certain. If it's the architect's fault he will pay for it. There's not many architects can go bust at the drop of a hat to avoid litigation and many who carry the can for others involved who do.

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    All I know is, at a residential level, every bod with more money than sense (it seems) that appears on Grand designs with some wacky idea that looks to me like it'll fail at the first downpour does so every time.
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    I don't really have anything to add other than what a great thread, really enjoyed reading it.
    I wouldn't give Satan a snowball's chance in hell against a woman's ego, man. He'd rule the Earth for a day. A week later we'd see Satan out cuttin' the lawn.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    Well this may be true for Wales but it certainly isnít a common tradition in England, much as anyone may wish it otherwise.

    In England at least there is a rather more rounded view of the issue, or rather itís place at the heart of a state run by capital. In Englandís book, wealth creates prosperity and jobs for all. Indeed the creation of wealth is fundamental to the liberal notion of prosperity for all.
    But in England most of the wealth ends up in the hands of the top few percent.

    If you are anti-capitalist well fine, argue your corner but donít hide behind social(ist) idealism as the only alternative for the common good. Widespread wealth is for the common good.
    You are very confused. I am a free-marketeer. I never mentioned socialism, you did. The current system is systemically flawed, hence two world-wide crashed in 80 years. As Gillian Tett, the assistant editor of the Financial Times said, changing a few bad apples will not put it all right. The system we use is fundamentally flawed. It can be put right by the Single Tax, Land Value tax - no Income Tax, no Council Tax, no VAT, etc. The average man would be far better off and enterprise promoted. No expensive tax accountant bills for small businesses, no expensive to process VAT and other such nonsense enterprise restricting taxes. More time to devote to enterprise activities.

    This city especially needs wealth-creators - we should not be turning them away with a wealth tax cloaked as a Land Value Tax and we donít. Not that it would particularly work as wealth tax in any event.
    Land Value Taxes create wealth, it promotes it, especially when income tax is reduced or eliminated, as in Hong Kong. All implementations around the world have done sop. We tax a man's labour via income tax. This is retrograde, as it prevents enterprise. It makes him poorer taking a part of his income at source - income tax was a temporary tax to fund the Napoleonic wars which Tory Land owners got made permanent to push taxes from their lands onto the people. Currently wealth laying idle is not taxed. We tax the fruits of the the labours of those who need least to be taxed - the wealth creators. That is why most wealth of a society ends up in the hands of the top few percent.

    There was a time when property owners smashed toilets to render empty properties unusable and untaxable. Why? Because there was no market for them. They were empty. No-one keeps property empty where thereís a more economically viable market for it - even Ďarry Hyams (of Centrepoint fame) even as a land-bank. A land-bank simply indicates lack of opportunity, or a lack of potential customers.
    Hyman's paid little to no tax on Centre Point in London. At 3/4 finished he turned the contractors off site. He paid no taxes as the building was not being used. The price of land was spiraling, so he left it and got rich in his sleep as the land prices rose - as did those adjacent to the Jubilee Line which they never paid for. Yesterdays London Evening Standard had an article on house/land prices rising dramatically around Crossrail stations - these people never paid for CrossRail, yet they walk off with massive windfalls, we all paid for it with our taxes. In fact the Welsh MP was slightly wrong. The Jubilee Line extension costed £3.4bn while land value rose by 14bn around the line

    Property owners, speculators to be more precise, smashed their properties to render them untaxabale to take advantage of land prices rising. Back to clearing up derelict buildings....Land Value Tax prevents that as many US cities have demonstrated. Liverpool needs it badly.

    Business rates and income tax go in part to fund infrastructure.
    Land Value Tax is the perfect method of funding growth creating infrastructure. Hong Kong built a metro from the taxation of land only. Crossrail was paid for out of UK taxes. The taxes of a man in Cornwall also paid for it. Land Value Tax would mean those who benefit from the rail line would pay for it - via Land Value Tax reclaimed from the land the rail line increased in value.

    Community created economic growth soaks into the land and crystalizes as land values - that is where land values come from, this is economics. Land Value Tax merely reclaims that growth and puts it back into the cycle to fund the infrastructure that aided the creation in the first place. Currently the cycle is cut and a giant sluice takes away that wealth in the form of windfalls in the land market - socially created wealth is privatized. It needs to be 180 degrees the the way. Socially created wealth socialized and privately created wealth privatized. Get it?

    At a real and immediate level, thereís gorgeous period properties in Everton, for example, rotting away - not for want of investment but for want of anyone who can afford to occupy them and pay builders, decorators, plumbers, electricians and shopkeepers ie., the common man to service them. We need wealth.
    The owners of the Everton properties still make money on the land under the decaying bricks. If they paid tax on the value of the land the homes would be renovated or sold off to someone who could renovate. Or fall into the hands of the city who could sell it off or do something with it. Currently they pay zero tax.
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    They follow the world-wide trend of forcing the population into denser housing and to be near "transportation hubs"
    Liverpool foolishly does the opposite. Merseyrail is comprehensive and can be far more comprehensive using the mothballed tunnels and trackbeds. The potential is enormous. The city was laid for for around 2.5 million and the redundant rail lines run right where people live - or could live.



    Yet Liverpool, even with existing used lines fails to utilize the stations. Project Jennifer in Scotland Road should have been on the Northern Line to give it a station. Unused Dingle underground station should have been the hub of Park Road, but was ignored. New developments should be built around the rail lines to get people off the roads. Merseyrail is considering new smaller Docklands Light Railways trains, that will have higher frequencies to give a hop-on hop-off service.

    Atlanta in Georgia is building around its Belt Line track. A track circling the city. It makes common sense to pay to your strengths and use the rail transport infrastructure.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
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    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
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    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Member Peter McGurk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    All I know is, at a residential level, every bod with more money than sense (it seems) that appears on Grand designs with some wacky idea that looks to me like it'll fail at the first downpour does so every time.
    To be honest, I don't follow Grand Designs but what I have seen of it is it's all a bit too easy. But the one time I watched it the guy did get into trouble with his roof (condensation I think it was) because he thought he knew better than the architect so...


    ---------- Post added at 11:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:22 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    Same goes for the city/urban planners or whatever they call themselves now.

    They follow the world-wide trend of forcing the population into denser housing and to be near "transportation hubs" - but if you ever meet one, ask them where they live.
    I think this is a bit different from being forced to live in a house foisted on you by a 'selfish architect' (see below).

    Compact cities are a good idea for the planet and I would live in the centre of a city (in a 'vibrant, diverse and walkable' environment) every time

    It is about choice (moral and financial). Some people have more choice than others but a city that offers as much variety (ie., choice, to suit different moral stand-points and financial circumstances) as possible will be a winner...


    ---------- Post added at 11:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:39 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    ...You're right in that the architects would never live in these, just try to make selfish personal statements and let some poor other buggers be the guinea pigs.
    ...I would also have lived in a lot of the buildings that have since become derelict. Including the Radcliffe Estate (before it got trashed).

    In fact, there's a bit of a tendency with architects to live in otherwise 'unsatisfactory' designs - from the Trellick Tower to the Barbican Centre which is now very des res (originally 60s council flats - and it's a bit more than a hundred yards to the parking there).

    Personally, I have never designed anything that I wouldn’t live or work in and I don’t know any architects that have.

    But for sure if someone asked me to design a residential scheme at (say) £100 per sq ft, I’d do it (and do a good job for the money) but at the same time if I could afford to live in a house that cost £105 per sq ft, I’d do that too. I imagine anyone would do the same.

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    I suppose that's the problem really! If you are building to a competitive,agreed cost per unit,it opens up a whole ballgame, of potential failure of quality! Surely though,that's a tendering/political problem,as opposed to an architectural one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post

    I think this is a bit different from being forced to live in a house foisted on you by a 'selfish architect' (see below).

    Compact cities are a good idea for the planet and I would live in the centre of a city (in a 'vibrant, diverse and walkable' environment) every time

    It is about choice (moral and financial). Some people have more choice than others but a city that offers as much variety (ie., choice, to suit different moral stand-points and financial circumstances) as possible will be a winner...

    .
    Yes... but my point is that the 'planners" did not live in the same environment they were planning for everyone else.

    After moving to Arizona and living on 7 acres surrounded by desert and wildlife I now get somewhat clustraphobic in cities...

    I'm not sure if I agree with the morals you are talking about (being green and paying carbon taxes, I presume), and financially the house and lot was less than we sold our little 1940 Los Angeles shack for.

    But I do agree with having choices - which the demographic (and political) trends are somewhat removing in the rural vs. urban debate, and is actually similar in the US and the UK. Just look at a political party representation map in either country and the urban/rural divide is clearly shown.

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    If we accept that poorly designed (council, slumlord) properties are a thing of the past (big ask) and that the mistakes of the 60s - 90s are being rectified (however slowly and don't let's even touch on the New Heartlands scheme that continues to cause problems in areas where the houses have been emptied but nothing is being done and some of them are now finding a new use as crack-dens, squats and impromptu knocking shops). Irresponsible landlords are the problem! Social landlords (housing associations, council) are slow to respond to anything that is going wrong: whether it's a tenant having a psychotic breakdown or someone who plays music at high volume all through the night and then throws a strop when challenged. Private landlords can be even worse still (there are some good ones), especially when they place problem tenants into a neighbourhood without any concern for the consequences, fill a large house with students and let them get on with it, fail to maintain their property so that it drags down the surrounding area or in the case of potentially high value properties in L8 & L17 deliberately let the property fall into disrepair so that the tenants (on low rents) are forced to move out facilitating a rapid conversion to 'luxury apartments'!

    The common factor in all this? An absence of civic responsibility. The solution? Legally force landlords to maintain their properties to a high standard and have letting agreements with tenants that are enforced. Of course, there will always be tenants who just want everything their own way and will never comply. Not forgetting anti-social property owners of the dog barking in the garden/yard all day, centre for local drug dealing/fencing variety etc. These problem citizens should be relocated to that disused depot outside Kirkby (just over the border in West Lancs), or an equivalent somewhere else, and kept there until they can demonstrate that they can behave like socialised human beings. People in struggling communities have a right to be protected from people who couldn't care less if the community they are living in is run into the ground.

    Then maybe people could chill out in their own neighbourhoods and more life might find its way into local High Streets as the sense of being under seize lifted. Of course, there would still be the problems associated with lack of skills / work opportunities but not constantly running into a scally with a pitbull or out-of-control kids/adults who don't give a flying f**k for anyone would make life so much sweeter.

    Yes, I am being a bit of a fascist but baby Jesus meek and mild just doesn't cut it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    People like different living arrangements, but the planners seem to prefer one version that they say is "good for us".
    Planners should plan the districts - and do. In most other countries house are built by the individual who buys a plot and gets in an architect and builder to design and build an individual house.

    Because of the ridiculous planning and land laws in the UK a handful of major builders most of the homes. They may give you a choice of the front door colour and kitchen units and that is about it. An artificial land shortage ratchets up land prices and the knock on is small pokey, poor built homes. Modern homes, since WW2 are pitiful.

    I like this... an eco German kit house - Huf Haus. They erect them in the UK



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    well said. It's all true what you say.
    All the things you describe I see every day in my neighbourhood.


    Quote Originally Posted by Big where it matters View Post
    People in struggling communities have a right to be protected from people who couldn't care less if the community they are living in is run into the ground.


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    Then maybe people could chill out in their own neighbourhoods and more life might find its way into local High Streets as the sense of being under seize lifted. Of course, there would still be the problems associated with lack of skills / work opportunities but not constantly running into a scally with a pitbull or out-of-control kids/adults who don't give a flying f**k for anyone would make life so much sweeter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    I suppose that's the problem really! If you are building to a competitive,agreed cost per unit,it opens up a whole ballgame, of potential failure of quality! Surely though,that's a tendering/political problem,as opposed to an architectural one?
    No not really. Designs have to be done to meet a budget and have to work (without failures) within the budget. More often than not the variable is how long it lasts.

    Obviously if you build a timber shed at a fraction of the cost per sq ft of a brick house, it's not going to last as long ie., it needs more maintenance to keep it going (if you want to live in it).

    Council doesn't have much money and has to build 'cost-effectively' (cheaply). Then you get the lifts kicked in and it blows the (maintenance) budget.

    ---------- Post added at 11:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:10 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Big where it matters View Post
    If we accept that poorly designed (council, slumlord) properties are a thing of the past...

    The common factor in all this? An absence of civic responsibility. The solution? Legally force landlords to maintain their properties to a high standard and have letting agreements with tenants that are enforced. Of course, there will always be tenants who just want everything their own way and will never comply...

    Yes, I am being a bit of a fascist but baby Jesus meek and mild just doesn't cut it.
    This last sentence hits the nail on the head.

    The mood is changing and thank God it is. There is less and less sympathy with the scallies and smackheads (yes, I’ve stopped getting The Guardian...). Something must be done and firmly but is a concentration camp over the border really the answer?

    Forcing landlords to nanny undesirables is not going to work either. People in struggling communities do have a right to be protected from people who couldn't care less if the community they are living in is run into the ground but it is not a function of landlords to root them out.

    In fact, Landlords who do turn people away on that basis are labelled as fascist, discriminatory and irresponsible.

    Blowing them up to council or the bizzies brings its own problems. People have to carry on living next to them when there is nowhere else for them to go.

    As even the highest court in the land said, it isn’t reasonable to expect councils (or landlords) to carry on pouring money into houses that are being kicked to pieces by those few tenants that are vandals.

    And how are councils to protect the honest citizen if they are spending huge sums on broken lifts and, it has to be said, defending spurious legal action in the courts? - no doubt versus legal aid assisted complainants (fascist enough I think...)

    Beating up Landlords is not the answer. A shift in public values is needed. Some would say that would be retrogressive but really what else would work? We need to go back to the days of social responsibility and social accountability and consequence (ok, really sounding like Cameron now).

    But there is no redress (it seems) against people who trash where they live and intimidate their neighbours. This is wrong. This must change.

    ***

    I used to concede that it was the fault of ‘poorly designed’ properties. That it was all in the past, things were looking up etc etc... but just maybe they weren't so poorly designed. When you look at the Garden Tenements for example...

    A huge improvement to begin with (and you had to be ‘respectable’ to get in), eventually dominated and trashed by people with no respect for themselves or anything around them (where’s that Guardian??) and now (what’s left of them are) beautifully managed and well run again.

    I accept that they didn’t suit everyone or even every family for which they were intended but nothing wrong with the design in all of that.

    ***

    The problems with empty houses in the New Heartlands is caused by central government pulling the plug on the funds to keep going. Properties have been bought and paid for, some of them cleared and government says 'ok, no more money now'.

    And... they were right to do so. Because HMRI subsidy (the Housing Market Renewal Initiative) artificially propped up houses prices to the betterment - not of landlords and definitely not of tenants - but of those that lent the money in the first place and those to whom mega interest was paid. The Banks!

    ***

    Well, there's a good Thursday morning rant. Who else wants some?!!!



    ---------- Post added at 12:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:36 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    Yes... but my point is that the 'planners" did not live in the same environment they were planning for everyone else.
    But so...? I guess no-one is forcing anyone to live anywhere. The choice still exists.

    And being Green is a moral issue. It is hard to get on a train or bus when the car is right there but it should be done - as a moral issue. For our children. If only public transport was more accessible and convenient... something I'm sure these 'planners' are advocating.



    ---------- Post added at 01:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:06 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    I like this... an eco German kit house - Huf Haus. They erect them in the UK
    Although I would agree that space standards have fallen terribly and construction costs have unnecessarily increased in the UK, I really can't see what relevance this has to our social housing.

    It would be wonderful to have every house in the UK individually designed. A bespoke property for everyone. But are you really suggesting that this is even remotely affordable? Or is it perhaps that council or government will pay? Perhaps the Peabody Trust?

    There is also plenty of social housing in Europe - particularly in Germany, and France, and Holland, and... where are these other countries where most houses are designed individually???? Cloud Cuckoo land? (Actually, Switzerland would be about right).





    http://www.huf-haus-owners-group.co....1/10/mack1.jpg

    And yeah. I'd be very interested to see the penny heating bills for that property. Particularly in relation to construction cost. With all that glass, it might keep in some heat if tripled glazed but it would cost a fortune to build even in kit form (which BTW kind of suggests they are not so individual as you think) and some of the guys down Norris Green way (got to pick somewhere) would make short work of those windows.

    ---------- Post added at 02:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:00 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    You are very confused. I am a free-marketeer....

    The owners of the Everton properties still make money on the land under the decaying bricks...Currently they pay zero tax.
    When I say if I mean if. What you say would tend to lead anyone to expect you to hold socialist views. It's not an accusation - even these days. It is a reasonable deduction, nevertheless it is conditional.

    And I am neither confused nor am I stupid. At least not so stupid to take what others have said as proof of what they say. I can read The Times for myself thank you, and interpret same. I don’t need it regurgitated to me as gospel.

    Now, you are seriously suggested that Land Value Tax is responsible or even a major contributor to Hong Kong’s wealth. Right, I see. How silly of me.

    ‘Wealth laying idle’ was at one time income was it not? and taxed as such? was it not? To then attached a causal link to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is... tenuous.

    Hyams may well have not paid tax on Centrepoint until he realised its increase in value. I think that is rather the point of a tax on income is it not? For sure he spent a great deal of money on all the tradesmen needed to build it. **** him.

    It’s a stretch but since it occurs to me... much like the Empire State perhaps. All those workers, working away in a depression, getting paid - what a fool Hoover was to create all that wealth and spread it around a bit! And no doubt there was and is a tax bill down the line.

    And how dare you buy land near a railway line, with money taken from your taxes for the benefit of all it serves. Outrageous! You know what? I’m going to build a line next to you so you have to pay me for it! I'll call it the Canada Dock Branch Line and I’ll call the tax Land Value Tax. There. Fixed.

    To suggest that Cornwall taxpayers paid more than their share of the nation's infrastructure costs is disingenuous in the extreme. This is how Crossrail is funded: www.london.gov.uk/crossrail-brs. So as not to bore everyone with the detail and to summarise - those that benefitted from it, paid for it.

    If there is no one that can afford to occupy houses in Everton, do you imagine that money will drop from the heavens to relieve current owners of possession and renovate them to make them more expensive and less affordable?

    And if taking tax at source is regressive (and it may well be) how does a wealth tax help? The depletion of 'wealth' to pay tax has a long and regrettably regressive history in this country and yes, that would include the landed gentry less able to pay income tax or inheritance tax or invest in wealth creation - and jobs and services. And this is where you 'betray' your socialist leanings.

    However, without a market there can be no wealth and no income whether the owner holds it or tries to flog it for threepence. Without a market, it is worth nothing. There is no wealth to tax. When there is income there will be something to tax. Geddit?

    Incidentally the empty house owner in Everton does not pay zero tax. If he’s lucky his community charge is discounted. And BTW it’s not economics. It’s fiscal policy.

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    I made an enquiry to the council regarding an empty Georgian property in Everton - almost derelict. They were very cagey when I suggested they would not be earning any income from council tax for it. There are no for sale boards on it, just trespassers will be prosecuted notices. It's an eyesore in need of some action by the landlord.

    Liverpool, like Ormskirk is overun with students and even conversion to flats with the brilliant views of the city from this high vantage point would surely be a viable proposition. There should be no option to do nothing at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I made an enquiry to the council regarding an empty Georgian property in Everton - almost derelict. They were very cagey when I suggested they would not be earning any income from council tax for it. There are no for sale boards on it, just trespassers will be prosecuted notices. It's an eyesore in need of some action by the landlord.

    Liverpool, like Ormskirk is overun with students and even conversion to flats with the brilliant views of the city from this high vantage point would surely be a viable proposition. There should be no option to do nothing at all.
    I suspect I know the one(s) you mean. It's in a really great spot but would cost an arm and a leg to fix up but if you haven't got the money what can you do? Council can't buy it off you (they don't have the money to buy it or redevelop it). No one else can force you to sell it and you can't force people to buy it...

    Even if you could, what then? Nothing's changed. If it's the one I think it is, I can see how the rents achievable wouldn't pay for it ie., it's not viable. It's barely standing. I could be wrong and I'd like to do it myself but...

    The area is a bit of a wasteland (on one side), so it would be a case of waiting for the area to come up a bit or holding the redevelopment costs till it did. Who can do that? Chicken and Egg.

    BTW I think students bring economic activity to an area and to the city. The more that come here and stay on after graduation, the better. Our friends down the East Lancs have achieved a lot this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post

    Although I would agree that space standards have fallen terribly and construction costs have unnecessarily increased in the UK, I really can't see what relevance this has to our social housing.

    It would be wonderful to have every house in the UK individually designed. A bespoke property for everyone. But are you really suggesting that this is even remotely affordable? Or is it perhaps that council or government will pay? Perhaps the Peabody Trust?

    There is also plenty of social housing in Europe - particularly in Germany, and France, and Holland, and... where are these other countries where most houses are designed individually???? Cloud Cuckoo land? (Actually, Switzerland would be about right).





    http://www.huf-haus-owners-group.co....1/10/mack1.jpg

    And yeah. I'd be very interested to see the penny heating bills for that property. Particularly in relation to construction cost. With all that glass, it might keep in some heat if tripled glazed but it would cost a fortune to build even in kit form (which BTW kind of suggests they are not so individual as you think) and some of the guys down Norris Green way (got to pick somewhere) would make short work of those windows.
    Social Housing. You were on about housing. These house are vert well made are zipped up ina few days on an insulated concrete pad. This method is ripe for social housing. They are oriented for passive solar. Insuation values are very high. As an architect you must have heard of Huf. They have been goping for decades. They give you anything you like. Glass? you have it. No glass and heavier insulation - you have it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    ....

    But so...? I guess no-one is forcing anyone to live anywhere. The choice still exists.

    And being Green is a moral issue. It is hard to get on a train or bus when the car is right there but it should be done - as a moral issue. For our children. If only public transport was more accessible and convenient... something I'm sure these 'planners' are advocating.

    ...
    .
    No, the planners do force people to live in certain locations - in the US it's called Planning and Zoning - I'm sure the UK has a similar law. It's also enforced in the longer term by where, and what type, of infrastructure is built.

    The moral values of Green based on carbon is still up for debate and deserves it's own thread. Note how every solution proposed so far involves taxes flowing the the govt.?

    I'll just leave with this - from a mere 40 years ago, a drop in the time bucket compared to climate predictions -

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    When I say if I mean if. What you say would tend to lead anyone to expect you to hold socialist views. It's not an accusation - even these days. It is a reasonable deduction, nevertheless it is conditional.
    Read properly and the views are nmot socialist. Just because someone wants a fairer society with an economic system that works not directing most wealth into a few hands and does not create boom & busts and world-wide crashes that does not mean socialist. I want to roll back the state - and the Tories want Big Government. More of the same tripe.

    And I am neither confused nor am I stupid. At least not so stupid to take what others have said as proof of what they say. I can read The Times for myself thank you, and interpret same. I donít need it regurgitated to me as gospel.
    Read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism
    Geonomics is an economic philosophy and ideology that holds that people own what they create, but that things found in nature, most importantly land, belong equally to all
    Now, you are seriously suggested that Land Value Tax is responsible or even a major contributor to Hong Kongís wealth. Right, I see. How silly of me.
    Land tax is the core of it - you must be acting silly. It gives low income and corporation tax encouraging peopel to work as they keep most of their earnings and companies to set up. Honmg Kong is a fiorm of LVT as all land is leased out and owned by the state.

    ĎWealth laying idleí was at one time income was it not? and taxed as such? was it not?
    It is no coincidence that the riches people in the UK are parasites (economic term) who take in rent - landowers. Duke of Westminster, etc.

    If Hyams had to pay full LVT on the land, the block would have been built ASAP, and not left idle for years on end. Look at what the USA is doing....and Auss, Tiawan, Denmark, USA, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    I suspect I know the one(s) you mean. It's in a really great spot but would cost an arm and a leg to fix up but if you haven't got the money what can you do? Council can't buy it off you (they don't have the money to buy it or redevelop it). No one else can force you to sell it and you can't force people to buy it...

    Even if you could, what then? Nothing's changed. If it's the one I think it is, I can see how the rents achievable wouldn't pay for it ie., it's not viable. It's barely standing. I could be wrong and I'd like to do it myself but...

    The area is a bit of a wasteland (on one side), so it would be a case of waiting for the area to come up a bit or holding the redevelopment costs till it did. Who can do that? Chicken and Egg.

    BTW I think students bring economic activity to an area and to the city. The more that come here and stay on after graduation, the better. Our friends down the East Lancs have achieved a lot this way.

    Perhaps if time limits were put on making places habitable, after all, it's not a million years ago it was a nursery, passing stringent regulations no doubt to be able to be one. After which there would be penalties with the most extreme being a handover to the council as it's they after all who take the criticism of thoroughfares into the city looking grubby and uninviting. Maybe a cpo based on its dilapidated condition then the likes of Maghull developments wouldn't just let them fall down so they can then build anew - without the VAT penalty etc. Look what happened to Jamica House on the corner of Dale st/Vernon st and what also happened not long ago to the oldest property on Dale st on the corner of Cheapside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter McGurk View Post
    Hyams may well have not paid tax on Centrepoint until he realised its increase in value. I think that is rather the point of a tax on income is it not? For sure he spent a great deal of money on all the tradesmen needed to build it. **** him.
    You really do not get it. No matter what he spent his money on in tradesmen, he stopped the lot because he could make even more doing NOTHING at all for about 8 years. He was not making productive use of the land - our land, our commonwealth. The Queen owns all a land in the UK.

    Harry Hyams wanted to demolish the Albert Dock, the largest collection of listed buildings in the UK to built cheap London Docklands like tat -like Peel are offering in Liverpool Waters. Hyams? Peel? No different.

    Itís a stretch but since it occurs to me... much like the Empire State perhaps. All those workers, working away in a depression, getting paid - what a fool Hoover was to create all that wealth and spread it around a bit! And no doubt there was and is a tax bill down the line.
    Hoover? He is famous for the Hoovervilles - shanty towns in the US depression. Roosevelt got things moving. There are shanty towns in the USA again as foreclosure has thrown millions out of their homes. Many shanty towns overlook empty homes.

    Look at:


    The USA went into major government funded infrastructure building like dams, as did Germany with its autobahns.

    And how dare you buy land near a railway line, with money taken from your taxes for the benefit of all it serves. Outrageous!
    Those near Crossrail stations experience a 60% increase for doing NOTHING. Cornwall taxpayers paid towards Crossrail and do not use it. The houses near the stations increase in value giving windfalls to those landowners - which people who do not use Crossrail contributed to. It is not difficult to understand. Read the Welsh MPs transcript again and understand what he is saying and Wales is no different to England or Scotland. Those that benefitted from Croassrail paid for it - the paid the whole £20 billion? Wow...

    If the land was taxed by its value whether built upon or not there would be no vacant buildings in Everton. Experience all over the world has proven that. I never made it up.

    And if taking tax at source is regressive (and it may well be) how does a wealth tax help?
    Taxing people's earning at source is 100% regressive. It penalizes the wealth creators. Those who should not be penalized. "A tax on land value has been described by many as a
    progressive tax, since it would be paid primarily by the wealthy, and would reduce income inequality." Vince Cable is trying to get something sensible into a government that economically knows sweet nothing. LVT reclaims community crated wealth to pay for community services. It is lauded as brilliant for funding infrastructure - Hong Kong built a metro using it.

    The depletion of 'wealth' to pay tax has a long and regrettably regressive history in this country
    Not so. You confuse taxing income at source from high earners - the wealth creators -from taking from taxing wealth. And ever since we have had boom & busts and world-wide crashes, and poverty in an age of amazing technical advancement has not gone away. For e.g., in the USA the top 1% own more wealth that the bottom 90%. Something is clearly very wrong and deep-root analysis will point to land and its resources.

    BTW, Winston Churchill was great supporter of Land Valuation Taxation -the finest speeches supporting LVT were made by him. He was in the government that caused the 1909 ructions in the House of Lords, which the Welsh MP mentions in the Assembly debate.

    However, without a market there can be no wealth and no income whether the owner holds it or tries to flog it for threepence. Without a market, it is worth nothing. There is no wealth to tax. When there is income there will be something to tax. Geddit?
    I got the free-market when I was about 13. Your last sentence is 100% incorrect.

    Incidentally the empty house owner in Everton does not pay zero tax. If heís lucky his community charge is discounted.
    It it is uninhabitable he pays ZERO. Yet the land can stay idle for decades and then he can make a killing selling the land. As Mark Twain said..."buy land they not not making any more". That land speculator in Everton keeps that land from being used productively...and creating an eyesore...and abusing the architectural culture of the city. In times gone by you could not own land unless you used it productively. If you stopped using it to reverted back to the community. Ever since we have treated land like a saleable commodity, like a washing machine, the world's economy has gone haywire. Land is like nothing else you can ever buy. BTW, I studied economics at degree level.

    Land Valuation Tax will clear up the derelict homes in Liverpool within a few years. Experience in the USA proves that so.
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