Nik Butler: Where are the standard templates for protest?

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Housing protests are hardly unique to our District.

A brief search on Google for ‘protest at new houses’ finds thousands of articles published in the UK for the last year.

From Sharphill Wood, through to Milton Keynes, Thackley, Gloucestershire and onwards to Leeds - housing protests are everywhere in the UK and if every article is to be believed then the UK has a large amount of ancient, rural fields in which children play and memories have been formed; and the character of said local communities would be devastated.

Further these fields have been preserved until this time of complaint and were never before, or any other time, merely fields.

Given the already prevalent industry in urban planning consultation, which might possibly be seen to back the position of a favoured property developer, it does surprise me that there are no counter consultancies building the cases against property development. Surely by now there must be standard templates for protest and complaint.

Where are the series of self-help books with startlingly original names like ‘Property Development Protest, For Dummies’?

Sadly it appears that those with the money, and the financial interests, will have the time and personal commitment to create professional agencies which promote the value of their developments; irrespective of economic reality.

In reflection many of these arguments against new builds seem repetitive; and they leave one wondering if the protest is not simply yet another rehash of the same objections when their new houses were built over a decade ago.

One thing that does stick out in those articles is that there were no accusations that the approvals or objections were falsified; no one looks to a report and wonders if opinions voiced exist or are more anecdotal creations.

I wonder; if we were to gather all protesters from the North and South of the district, or the county, or the country, and ask them where they were happiest to build what would their answers be?

Maybe its time for an ‘app’ called ‘Build In My Town’ where people indicate where they don’t mind buildings or where they consider ancient rural green pastures to be left un-desecrated; well, only inasmuch as the landowner who has been farming it for decades can.

However the case for both sides is poorly put and the headlines endless; but the concern remains can we trust the consultation now that its integrity is questioned ?