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County report: NIMBYs on the warpath

by Ron Kennor
by Ron Kennor

The Government wants to build 10 carbon-neutral towns of 5,000 to 20,000 houses across England. Ron Kennor of Robinson Jackson asks why.

There's a lot of kerfuffle out in the Shires about the 10 proposed 'eco towns' to be built on largely greenfield sites alongside unspoilt, Miss Marple-type villages. These are largely populated by semi-retired professionals who moved there for a bit of exclusive peace and quiet and an unspoilt view of their corner of this green and pleasant land.

In the name of the great god Global Warming which allows governments and councils to inflict all types of torture on residents, however illogical, inconvenient and expensive, the Government has branded these new communities "Eco Towns" to give some justification for their existence with the fashionable and influential green lobby groups.

In truth of course unless the next generation are to sleep on their parents’ sofas, big numbers of houses, green or otherwise, have to be built somewhere and looking at the map of the 15 proposed sites, of which 10 will be built, they seem to be fairly evenly spread across the country.

But national needs are not the interests of local residents all of whom will say "Don't build here, build it somewhere else" with generally high degrees of organisation, eloquence and influence not generally found in urban areas where we suburbanites have to accept developments without question.

To their credit Ministers are grasping the nettle of unpopular but essential housing development, albeit wearing protective green gloves but not deferring to the green wellies.

The next months and years will no doubt see many objections by the local NIMBYs but, if the Government keeps its cool, many ordinary families will stand to benefit from living in a pleasant location where they want to live rather than a less desirable place where the local planners think they should live.

Lines are being drawn on this new class war.

Ron Kennor is general manager of Robinson Jackson estate agencies. He can be contacted on 020 8316 6200.

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