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?