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Monday, 17 April 2017

NIMBY? Not me mate!

Whenever I raise objections to some or other huge development on greenfield land someone invariably calls me a NIMBY, usually online. "Oh you're just a NIMBY', 'People have to live somewhere' and so forth. Lets examine some facts for a minute. Firstly it may be useful to throw in a definition of NIMBY (Not in My Backyard):

....a person who objects to the siting of something perceived as unpleasant or hazardous in their own neighbourhood, especially while raising no such objections to similar developments elsewhere.

Hmmm. Let's start with the first part of that. I live in the middle of New Town, very near to Port Lane and Paxman's Diesel factory. I have never objected to the continued activity of the factory or to its location. Moreover a few years ago a large housing estate was built on part of the Paxman's site on Port Lane, Lenz Close and so forth, which I fully supported. It was an excellent use of this brownfield site and just the kind of place to put lots of new homes. Now you could argue that the new houses were not as unpleasant as the brick wall that ran down the lane previously. Fair point, however it still rather mitigates against the notion that Goacher just moans about new houses in his own backyard. Indeed the only major housing development really close to where I live is one that I supported fully. It improved the area and it is now both greener and more pleasant than what was there before. That is how utilising brownfield sites can work.
Now let's turn to the second part of the NIMBY definition. Surely no one could accuse me of not raising objections to unpleasant developments elsewhere. I don't live near West Tey, yet I object to that. I don't live near Salary Brook, yet I object strongly to concreting over that. I shouldn't be doing so if I was a proper NIMBY. I should be saying, 'yes dump all the urban sprawl out in the sticks away from me in New Town'.
Furthermore I like wind and solar farms. I wouldn't mind living near one personally, certainly preferable to a huge modern urban housing estate full of boxes and astro-turf lawns. They may change the look of a place but they don't destroy the countryside:

What a rubbish NIMBY I seem to be. For some real NIMBYism I'd suggest you look elsewhere. Here for example in today's Colchester Gazette:
A certain Cllr Young is objecting to the siting of a huge new town near to Wivenhoe, a project he previously fully supported in every Council meeting until the developers proposed moving it too close to wards occupied by councillors from Mr Young's own party. It is not just Labour councillors that behave like this. Conservative , Labour and Lib Dem councillors are all fighting to defend their patches and dump the huge urban sprawl on each other's areas, instead of uniting together in order to challenge central government and the developers. That, I suggest, is real NIMBYism for you!

As for Goacher, well I'd suggest that a better definition for me would be NIABY (Not in Anyone's Backyard). We need to develop more brownfield sites like the Port Lane site. Start with the former Odeon and get moving on that huge area of concrete near to The Range , off Cowdray Avenue. Meanwhile let's stand up to the developers who want to concrete over the countryside and green spaces.