Amol Rajan: We are on the verge of a great migration from cities

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

Lovely, lush, liveable Lincolnshire, in which I spent a chunk of the Bank Holiday weekend, is where I suspect most of my generation will end up. There and other places – Kent, Surrey, Cambridge, Oxford, Buckingham – that are within commuting distance of London, where our jobs will be, but not in the city proper. Hampshire, not Hampstead, will be where we raise families and make homes. That's because soon the only people who will be able to afford homes in London will be Bob Diamond, X-Factor contestants, and the Queen.

Property prices, as regular readers will know, strikes me as clearly one of the great scourges and injustices of our society, never mind a huge source of economic instability. Yesterday I was in a little Lincolnshire hamlet called Osbournby, where a beautiful six-bedroom Yeoman's House with a garden the size of half a football pitch is on sale for around £650K. In London, that could barely get you a 4-bedroom house in Tooting, where I grew up; if it did, the garden would be too small to play cricket in, the key determinant of a garden's merit.

Not far from Osbournby there are fine state schools, and what with Grantham being 20 minutes drive away, and trains getting into London in an hour from there, the commute is certainly bearable. In London, state schools are terrifyingly over-subscribed, crime is much higher, and space is at a much greater premium.

That is why we are on the verge of a great migration. A few years ago a much misinterpreted report by Policy Exchange, a think tank, noted that many northern cities that were former industrial heartlands have lost their raison'd'etre. Our best hope, the report argued, was to invest heavily in the satellite towns around major cities, and encourage people and businesses to move there.

Simply abandoning the former industrial towns decimated by globalisation would be cruel and ineffective; but it does seem to me that for a vast proportion of the professional classes, life in the capital is so intolerably expensive that following the Policy Exchange formula is a necessity. A suburban flourishing would then take place, with satellite towns growing at a dizzying pace.

Of course the professional classes have always commuted in; but London house prices are so high that they will soon have to do so from much further out.

As a result, the average age in our cities will become lower, as older home-owners head for the hills, and young workers and recent migrants live five to a flat in the inner city. Lincolnshire, which admittedly has few hills, is ripe for an influx of pinched families, but don't tell the locals.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

Recruitment Genius: Admin Assistant

£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Hollywood: Stop trying to make Superman cool. The world needs a boy scout in blue

Matthew James
A man enjoys the  

If you really want to legalise cannabis, then why on earth would you go and get high in a park?

Peter Reynolds
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders