And the details are always the same: a developer submits plans to build a small number of houses in a village; local people trot out the obligatory ‘we’re not opposed to new homes’ line, ‘they’re just in the wrong place’ apparently. Aren’t they always.
The paper’s 2nd April edition was no exception, and it was the villagers of Cradley who were complaining about plans for 60 houses this time.
The village only needed 38 houses by 2018, claimed resident Nic Calvert. Though where his statistic comes from he doesn’t say.
Yet only 120 affordable homes were built in Herefordshire in the whole of 2014, according to housing charity Shelter.
Sixty-one would-be households are currently homeless across the county, and over half of those are families with children. This is not taking into account the thousands of local people that are perennially on the social housing waiting list.
The truth is we need more affordable homes and a lot more social housing in Herefordshire, and these need to be built somewhere.
What would be steady and sustainable is for the towns and many villages around the county to take on a small number of new dwellings each, proportional to the size of the existing settlement, and thereby spreading the load. This minor increase in a village’s population would have the added benefit of helping support the local shop, school and pub. What it means in reality is that a lot of people will need to have new flats or houses built near them. And if that bothers some people, perhaps they should become advocates for population control and a worldwide one-child policy.
The increasingly commonplace photo opportunity of the happy villagers who have defeated a developer’s plans to build in a nearby field illustrates only one side of the story. The other is one of misery for the thousands of families locally that don’t have a home they can call their own, sharing with parents or living in cramped accommodation.
There are of course many legitimate reasons why a housing development might not be best on a certain patch of land, but the selfish ‘not in my back yard’ attitude that seems to infest many planning objections is ugly and symptomatic of the uncaring, unwelcoming, heartless society we’ve become.