Housing and environment

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at hagcott.meganet.co.uk
Fri Aug 9 13:47:09 MDT 1996

I am working on the new edition of the Woking Worker, which is a local
newsletter distributed door to door in this area.

One of our members has submitted this piece about our environmental
problems in what was a small town, and is now a medium sized one. In the
near future Woking will become a large dormitory town, swallowing up the
surrounding villages. Most of the work in this area has become part-time
shop work, so many people have to travel to London. They can't afford to
live near their work so have to travel long distances. In the evenings
all they want to do is watch television, and/or get drunk or stoned.

How do we as Marxists speak to these people who have little sense of
community or class? This problem is greatest amongst young people who see
no future, and just live for the moment.

                         WOKING "BOOM" TOWN

There is strong evidence to suggest that Woking is to become a boom town
and 'SOON' is definitely an accurate description of what will happen it
the proposed expansion plans go ahead.
There  are allegedly plans afoot to build many more houses to accommodate
the increasing dormitory population in the South East and Woking, it
would seem is to be the site of, and centre of this building  programme.
There is evidence aplenty of the building mania already in the borough,
houses being built on what were once areas of great charm and peace e.g.
the Convent  site an Maybury Hill. Supermarkets and Superstores are being
erected in and out of town with all the environmental damage  that  they
incur. One is tempted to ask at what  point  dots  supermarket saturation
point occur, perhaps when they start to build next dear to each other.
Sack gardens are being sold to developers who woo householders with their
persuasive manners and bulging cheque books into agreeing to more houses
in what are already congested areas.
The practice is known as infill building and it is an insidious way of
cramming more houses with even less amenity space into areas that were
left in original building programmes as 'green corridors'; Goldsworth
park being a prime example of this. More houses,  more  people, less and
less open public land. Forcing people   to live in increasingly closer
proximity to each other doesn't work, that was proved in the sixties when
we had the rather stupid notion of stacking people one on top of another
in tower blocks. People need housing, agreed, but people need quality
housing and quality housing means room to breathe and it will always be
the poorer areas of the community who   will  bear the brunt of the
overcrowding with all the social and criminal fallout that inevitably
results. 'BOOM' indeed.
This  practice must be stopped and forced into open debate and with the
pressure of ordinary citizens and some political will we can all keep our
space, and our heads.

p.s. If you want to know what this area used to be like; read "War of the
Worlds" by H.G.Wells.

Best wishes,

      New Worker Online http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/2853

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