Has Tameside’s green and pleasant land all of a sudden become Tameside’s green and overcrowded land?
With the nation’s ever-increasing population and the double whammy that people are now living longer, this means as each year goes by, there is an ever-growing strain on public services and in particular my favourite topic – housing.
It’s no wonder some people are saying things are at crisis point when it comes to infrastructure (like roads, schooling etc) and in particular housing. I hear it all the time; people complaining that Tameside looks like a building site and, we are packing people in like sardines into our Tameside homes. Yet I wanted to find out exactly what the truth was.
Starting with the UK as a whole, there 698 people per square mile whilst in England, there are 1,103 people per square and finally in Greater London 14,587 people per square mile; these all sound quite awful numbers, until you drill down and realise a square mile is an awfully big area. There are only 93,600 square miles in the whole of the UK and that includes the wilderness areas of Scotland!
Let’s look at more realistic areas of land – and I want to look at my favourite: the acre. To those born after the mid 1970’s, an acre is roughly half the size of a football pitch or a square roughly 63 metres by 63 metres and there are just less than 2.5 acres in a hectare.
The population of Tameside is 225,197 and the total area of Tameside is 28,565 acres, meaning 8.83 people live per acre in Tameside.
So, how does that compare to neighbouring boroughs in Greater Manchester, including that of the city centre itself?
As you can see, just under 9 people live per acre in Tameside. As expected, the city centre has the largest population density with 19.09 people living per acre, with 545,500 residents occupying the skyscrapers and buildings that make up its skyline.
Rochdale and Oldham have the smallest population density of Greater Manchester, despite boasting some of the largest amounts of acres. This of course will be down to the vast amounts of rolling, unoccupied hills that take up plenty of that land.
it’s also interesting when compared to both Greater London, which has density of 23.26 people per acre and London’s most crowded suburb, Pimlico at 92.32 people per acre. Yet even Pimlico is nothing to the Collblanc district in Barcelona, which has 214.8 people living it per acre.
So, is Tameside over populated? Yes, it seems that way at school time or rush hour when sitting in traffic that Tameside is over populated – yet the stats show – we aren’t.
Evidently, we are never going to have an even spread of population as can be seen from the figures in the table, and the remote nature of some parts of the country would not be able to withstand high densities of new people without enormous infrastructure investment.
Yet could we accommodate a much larger population in the UK (and Tameside) although there would be trade-offs? Look back at the 17thand 18thcentury and certain sectors of society were warning about population growth. The population of the UK in 1801 was 10.5 million and even with the growth of the population since then, only 1.2% of the UK is currently built on for housing purposes.
The question, it seems to me, is not can we manage but how would a larger Tameside population change our way of life, both for better and possibly worse?
The planners have a responsibility to ensure Tameside provides its fair share of new homes to accommodate this population growth in the coming years. The local authority has a responsibility towards adequate provision of the infrastructure of roads, hospitals and schools etc, to match the growth in housing. This is not a political topic and I hope once the ‘B’ word is finally sorted we can get on with addressing the shortage of affordable new homes for future generations.
As always I’d love to know your thoughts, and if you are looking at investing in property in Tameside and are after a second opinion or further information, drop me a line on 07709 505442.