Azara Blog: Germaine Greer spouts nonsense about Cambridge housing

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Date published: 2007/06/17

The Cambridge News says:

If Germaine Greer has her way, the world-famous perpendicular gothic spires of King's College could have a skyline rival - 70-storey "needles" that will provide homes for thousands of people.

The massive towers would be built on the site of Cambridge Airport in the east of the city, and be visible for miles around.

Her astonishing idea features in a BBC East programme on Monday, focusing on how the region should be tackling its housing problems.

She will argue that further urban sprawl will ruin the countryside around Cambridge, and that the "needles" would leave the smallest possible footprint while at the same time providing lots of new residential space.
Coun Catherine Smart, executive councillor for housing on the city council, told the News: "I find nothing to attract me in this idea - it puts far more emphasis on preserving grass and too little on how people want to live.

"Very few people, and even fewer families, want to live in very tall buildings. Most people want dwellings that are on a human scale.

"If we build really good houses and apartments on the airport site they could be the listed buildings of the future that Prof Greer's successor will be battling to preserve.

"To me, the most difficult element in the East Cambridge plans is not the one she focuses on, but the way the people living there will travel to the rest of Cambridge. I want a tunnel under Coldham's Common but there are other possibilities. I wish Prof Greer had put her undoubted ability to imagining something spectacular and innovative by way of transport - but she seems to ignore it."

Coun Lewis Herbert, leader of the council's Labour group, said: "Local Labour councillors are in favour of bold thinking, given the urgent need for thousands more affordable homes in and near Cambridge. But this is a loopy, nightmarish scheme that would even get rejected by the planners in multi-storey heavens like Hong Kong and Dubai.

"Where's the badly-needed family housing going? They will not want to live on the 40th floor. And do you really want to destroy classic Cambridge views like King's College? No-one will support this."

Well, the councillors say it all. Greer is one of those people who has to constantly bask in public attention by saying outrageous things (usually stupid, since she's not bright enough to say anything intelligent).

(Not that building a tunnel under Coldham's Common, as suggested by Smart, is any less crazy. Not only would that be very expensive, it actually wouldn't help that much, since it would just move the traffic congestion further into town, at the corner of Newmarket Road and Coldham's Lane. Of course the current local government has made the traffic on Newmarket Road a nightmare on purpose, by hugely increasing the amount of retail and halving the capacity of the road in the retail section.)

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