Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yeovil Eco-Town and New Housing latest, and NIMBY ethics.

One thing I missed during Lent was the latest on new housing plans around Yeovil: the town has just secured £1.5m of government funding to carry out a feasibility study on an 'eco town'. This would be a 5,000 home development (which was already in the pipeline) but to higher environmental and carbon footprint standards than normal. Respondents on the BBC's 'Have Your Say' page are less than positive about the idea, but I've rarely met people who are keen to have more houses built near them.

3 potential sites have been identified, to the SW of Yeovil (Brympton house/West Coker area) South (around the A37 at Keyford) and, most interesting, across the Dorset border towards Over Compton. There's a rough chart of the possible sites here. There's going to be public consultation from later this year.

For a bit more detail, the council has also been doing a land survey (the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) for land available for new housing over the next 15 years. They've identified potential land for nearly 27,000 homes spread across 544 sites. That doesn't mean this number will get built - the current plan is for around 19,700 by 2026, and if the Conservatives get in they've promised to scrap the planning system upon which that figure is based, so goodness knows what will happen then.

The summary SHLAA report is here, with details of all the sites, where they are, and how many homes they can accomodate. There's a lot to trawl through, so it's only worth looking at if you've got 15 minutes to spare. If you want to see it in map form for the Yeovil area, try this. It's quite striking to see the areas set out: potential expansion along the A3088 corridor (increasingly surrounding Brympton D'evercy stately home) and along the A37, and West Coker becoming a village on the fringe of urban Yeovil. As I said, not all of these sites are likely to be used, and no doubt there will be local campaigns to protect a wide array of back yards....

....which set me wondering who has the moral right to make this kind of protest. Anyone with 2 children or fewer (like me) isn't reproducing at a high enough rate to maintain the UK population, let alone offset the rapidly growing army of retired people with a sufficient balance of people of working age. Result? We need net immigration, and new homes to accomodate this. Any behaviour which brings about a divorce creates 2 households out of one, thus increasing the need for housing units. Anyone with a second home that isn't vital to their work or circumstances is using 2 homes when one will do. Anyone refusing to take certain posts because of pay or conditions, requiring them to be filled by EU workers (I'm off to the dentists today - there is not a single UK born NHS dentist in the area, because all the Brits have followed the money into the private sector. Thank goodness for the Portuguese and Polish) is creating a need for net immigration. And so on.

Only semi-seriously, do any of the above have the right to protest about new housing proposals when we are living lives which make them necessary?

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