The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
What would Nancy Mitford have made of U-PVC?
by Steve Travis

Earlier this evening on Channel 4 I caught the end of a property programme. Fronted by Sarah Beeny, the aim of the programme was to spend £10,000 trying to improve the look of a row of 12 Edwardian terrace houses in Nottingham.

Time, in the form of 40 years of "DIY", had taken its toll on these unfortunate houses. What had once been a uniform row with a degree of aesthetic integrity, was now the all-too-common collection of UPVC windows, "Wally-bricks" (stone cladding), garish paint-jobs and paved-over front gardens.

At the end of the programme the makeover had restored a degree of architectural sympathy to the street, and in the process added £10k to the value of each house, for an outlay of £800 per property (take note - good taste can also be financially beneficial. I have heard that replacing original hardwood sash windows with UPVC can knock £20-£30k off the value of a property!).

In addition to this pecuniary benefit, the residents had gained something further - a community. It had taken them 4 weeks of argument and hard graft to get to the end of the project. But more importantly, they had all interacted with one another, often for the first time. Neighbours of many years standing who had previously barely exchanged two words, had worked together to acheive an improvement of their neighbourhood, and were all off to the pub to celebrate the success of their collective action.

Its a story to warm the cockles of a true Liberal's heart. Even if the budget didn't stretch to ripping out the UPVC.
posted by Apollo Project @ 11:11 pm  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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