Could motor cars come up with solution to housing shortage?

Torquay Railway Station, on Brunel’s railway

Torquay station - should we consider burying railway station car parks underground and building low-cost affordable homes on top of them? - Credit: Stephen Coombes

Almost all political parties have at some stage promised to deal with the shortage of housing but mostly by carving up green field space and imposing houses where they are not wanted nor with proper infrastructure to support such schemes.

Can the motor car come up with the solution? Well, stick with me for a moment as this is not as hairbrained as it may seem.

Now I travel frequently to London by train and there is one thing that strikes me as I look out of the window, particularly as one gets closer to the metropolitan area.

And that is cars. Lots of them, and stationary as well. Not in traffic jams but in station car parks. 

So, we bury the car park underground and build on top of the car park, low-cost affordable homes and interesting split-level housing with attractive penthouse flats and nicely designed garden rooftop amenity spaces.

Probably just low-level buildings but keep the car park below and out of sight. A visual improvement for a start.

This is instant housing where it is needed most, in the suburbs of large cities and in the centre of provincial towns.

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And there are acres of such land at every train station up and down the country.

Ah but who would want to live there, you ask? Well, I did, for one, many years ago and great fun it was too with lots going on below to watch. A bit like living next to a river with activity aplenty.

I even successfully sold the property because it was next to the railway line and the buyer’s children were enthralled by the action.

Latest insulation techniques will eliminate any noise from passing trains or travel announcements.

Such sites are unquestionably brown field and they meet the new housing criteria of being in urban conurbation and close to transport links, by obvious definition!

  They will be deemed affordable housing due to locality and buyer schemes will prevent them being snapped up by private landlords naturally. 

Furthermore, the location of the new housing negates the need for car ownership at a stroke. More green ticks.

Network Rail will benefit hugely from the cash injection of property sales and will hopefully be required to invest the funds into improving services and infrastructure.

The car parks themselves will even become nicer, safer places to park and will have covered illuminated access to and from the station platforms.

Small businesses such as car valeting and express shops might even be created within the car park. 

Boris loves his big infrastructure schemes and this one may well get traction.

Remember where you heard it first... the motoring columns of Torbay Weekly.