5. I mean, I’m not saying the green belt is never pretty, but it doesn’t tend to look like that.
6. There aren’t that many lakes in it for a start.
7. Sure, there’s Virginia Water, but last time I checked there weren’t many mountains in Surrey.
8. Are they sure that’s outer London?
9. Oh, hang on, it’s Lake Windermere.
10. That’s in the Lake District.
11. The Lake District is not in the Metropolitan Green Belt.
12. It’s a national park, FFS.
13. We could concrete every square inch of green belt in the whole of England and the Lake District would still be protected.
14. Oh, I see Duncan’s gone in.
15. I don’t actually want to scrap the entire green belt, by the way.
16. This is a common misconception about me.
17. In many ways, I think the green belt is good, actually.
18. Dense cities are better than sprawling ones, and encouraging redevelopment within London is better for everyone than concreting the countryside outside it.
19. I just refused to believe that, in the middle of a housing shortage, it is sensible to protect every single square inch of car park, scrubland, golf course and pony club in zone 6 from the onset of housing.
20. I mean, we can argue about the utility of farmland or whatever, but there is no way I’m accepting that my right to a house should be lower on society’s priority list than your right not to have to drive for more than 10 minutes to play golf.
21. I sometimes pretend to be more extreme about this than I actually am in an attempt to terrify people like the CPRE into compromise.
22. I literally explained that I was going to do this in an article four years ago.
23. It hasn’t worked though.
24. Honestly, you’d be amazed at quite how little difference all my years of throwing words at the internet has made to anything.
25. If anything, I’ve made things worse.
26. Anyway, the point is: Lake Windermere is definitely not in the green belt.
27. It’s not even in the commuter belt.
28. I mean, it’s 230 miles from London.
29. And the
closest stationclosest station with trains to the capital is miles away.
30. It’s called Oxenholme (Lake District), and brackets are never great sign, are they?
31. So Windermere is 10 miles from a station that’s three hours from London.
32. And don’t get me started on the cost of a season ticket.
33. £20,040.00 for an annual pass, since you asked.
33a. Turns out there is a Windermere station which gets one train and hour which I didn’t know about.
33b. That’s thrown my numbering off dammit.
34. It’s really not London commuter territory, is basically all I’m saying here.
35. Nobody in their right mind thinks it’s even remotely plausible to solve London’s housing crisis by building homes next to Lake Windermere.
36. Technically, “Lake Windermere” is a tautology.
37. A “mere” is an old English word for a long, narrow lake.
38. And “Winand” was thought to be some bloke.
39. So “Lake Windermere” literally means “Winand’s Lake Lake”. Which is stupid.
40. The correct name of the lake is just “Windermere”.
41. I’m getting off topic, aren’t I.
42. Oh wait, they deleted it.
43. That’s going to be a problem when I take the piss out of it tomorrow morning.
44. Sort of wish I’d taken a screenshot now.
45. No one else has taken one either.
46. I was going to do this whole listicle thing, and now I’m going to have to do it without a picture of the tweet in question.
47. Shit shit shit shit shit
48. Oh well, style it out.
49. To be honest, I was going to conclude that I almost admire the CPRE’s commitment to abject, shamefaced lying.
50. I mean, do you remember the “London-on-sea” campaign?
51. They just totally made that up.
52. Honestly, there wasn’t even a thing they were twisting, it was just complete bollocks intended to scare the shit out of people.
53. I did one of these this list thingies about that, too.
54. That only had 23 points in it though.
55. Take, that, past me.
56. Anyway, my point is: I wouldn’t get away with using images as misleading as that on CityMetric, and I’m not nearly as important or influential as the CPRE.
57. They’re a registered charity, FFS.
58. They literally take public donations for this stuff.
59. So my conclusion was going to be, “These people have absolutely no shame whatsoever”.
60. The problem is that they deleted the tweet.
61. So maybe they do have shame after all.
62. Which has taken the wind out of my sails a bit, if I’m honest with you.
63. Means I don’t really have a way of ending this thing.
64. Windermere looks nice, though.
Image: Jason Butler/Wikimedia Commons.
65. Much nicer than London’s actual green belt.
Image: Google Maps, via Business Insider.
66. We should be allowed to build houses on places like that later photo, that’s really all I’m saying.
67. Oh look, it’s started to snow.
Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason.
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