Another look at NIMBYism

At the Examination in public on 24th November of the local councils’ strategy to cover the countryside in a dubiously required plethora of new houses, it was refreshing to hear a South Norfolk District Councillor, Trevor Lewis, arguing valiantly for some say in whether the village of Trowse should be swamped by new build. It was only sad that he found it necessary to assert that he wasn’t a NIMBY. Let’s look for a moment at what this otiose term means.

If it were proposed to bulldoze the castle and build a casino, or rip up Norwich market for affordable housing, the protesters against those blasphemies would never be regarded as NIMBYs. They’d probably be knighted for safeguarding our heritage.

There’s another term much bandied about – heritage.The dictionary says it means “what is or may be allotted to any one, or inherited”. Well no one is going to inherit or have allotted to them the castle or the market, to anything like the extent the dwellers at Trowse are allotted their village, its ways and its unique atmosphere. They live there for goodness’ sake!

No one lives in the castle or the market, so, although one may cherish the Norman architecture and relish the aroma of a particular hotdog, no one will hold those things as dear to them as will the Trowsians their feeling for their own place. Yet if they protest against the desecration of that place, they have to defend themselves against the charge of NIMBYism; while those who successfully protected the castle would be honoured.

This would be ridiculous enough if the threat to Trowse was justified. But we are hearing day after day that the Joint Core Strategy is as riddled with unsoundness as a colander is with holes. Good for Trowse, we say; but why aren’t all the other villages threatened by this arrogant bureaucracy up and at them too?  

1 comment:

  1. Heritage isn't only castles and churches - though often by protecting these larger objects we protect a lot of insignificant things living in their shade and surviving because they survive.

    Biodiversity is the most important Heritage of all - the Heritage, in genes, that protects the human species by protecting the diversity of a myriad plant and animal species which together form a web of life and which are more interdependent than we realise. Some of these species are tiny and unknown, others are tiny but better known such as earthworms and bees. They are all more or less vital to our own survival. And overdevelopment can destroy them very rapidly by ruining their Habitat. Some species do thrive on industrial sites, motorway borders, etc., but it is only some and only as a second best option.

    The thing about NIMBYism is that if everyone does it, there is nowhere for the Developers to go. So all together now ...... NOT IN MY BACKYARD OR ANYONE ELSE'S. The houses are not needed because the death rate in Norfolk is much higher than the birth rate, as is the case all over Western Europe. The houses will ALL be filled by outsiders, as the Council's own Demographic website admits. This is what the Chinese government does - it builds the houses, increasing its GDP and its Economic Growth figures, and then finds people to live in them (not hard in China, but in Britain they have to be brought in from abroad). The Development and Property world profits, so do the Supermarkets and petrol stations - but small businesses do not and everyone else loses not only money but worse still their souls. The Council doesn't care whether there are jobs or not - if there aren't jobs they will create them, they said so at the Planning Inquiry. The new jobs will be in "Financial Services". Oh I forgot who else profits from importing people into new houses - the credit industry, or should that be the debt industry.

    The head of the CPRE, Bill Bryson, who lives in Wymondham, recently published a collection of essays about Britain by different people. One of the essays is all about how everyone ought to be a NIMBY, and it is by the Editor of the Ecologist Zak Goldsmith (now a Tory MP I believe, for Richmond).