Response to Nick Boles’ Article in the Yorkshire Post 12th January 2013
“One of the annoying things about the term ‘greenfield’ is it suggests undeveloped fields are green. Bluntly, many of them are not. Many of them are pretty undistinguished, pretty scruffy. “And the reason why it makes no sense for a Minister to tell where to develop is that every community knows where those places are.”
“And yes of course the immediate neighbours will object, because broadly speaking they would rather not have a house in their view. But I’m afraid there is no in-built right when you buy a house that nothing changes in your immediate vicinity. It does need to be a decision that’s made locally. So I hope people will be reassured that we’re not bringing back targets and we’re not making these decisions from Whitehall.”
“But I am really going to put moral pressure on people. If that’s your response [to object to every nearby development], tell me where the next generation’s going to live. And justify to those kids why they have to grow up in a tiny flat without any green space.”
NICK, we realised that newspapers do not always print the full context of quotes, however, we will take this one at face value, and debate the assertions you are making.
We are pleased to see that you think local people know their area best; on that principal we can agree. But, are you honestly under the impression that the only reason people are opposing development on green belt is because of a view over scruffy fields !!!!?
I think we ought to put you straight on the nature of opposition to what you are proposing. Your talk of ‘moral pressure’, well, let us see if that works on you. Let us apply the moral pressure.
The reason action groups are springing up all over the Wharfedale and Airedale area is because people see the quality of their lives, their families’ lives and the potential lives of their grand children, going down the swanny. Traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, primary school children being bussed miles to find an education, older people having to find a doctors’ surgery over ten miles from home; all of these are the reasons people are objecting to what is really unsustainable development. And, that is just for starters! On top of that we can include the increased risk of flooded homes, Victorian infrastructure that is beginning to crack and pump sewage into the street – Menston is a prime example of this, lack of services as Councils pull back into the cities, and a dearth of facilities because spending is cut – all this on top of hours to commute 10 miles to work because jobs are not available locally. Is it moral of your Government to expect us to put up with this?
If you want to find scruffy, derelict land, you will find many more such sites in inner city Leeds and Bradford, than you will on our green belt. But, these, for some reasons, cannot find developers. Maybe Nick, you ought to find out why this is so, and turn your ‘moral pressure’, on Council planners, and house developers – we feel sure they too have grand children.
Where are the next generation going to live, you ask? Well, it would help if firstly the Government came up with a sensible policy on immigration. We really do not know how you can ask this question with a straight face, when it is now known that immigration in the last 10 years has accounted for a population increase of around 2 million people: with yet more expected from Bulgaria and Romania – a possible 27 million – in 2014!! Did you not know this? Eric Pickles certainly does.
Let us turn your question around, how are YOU going to justify to our children why they are growing up in an overcrowded island, with a lower standard of living than their grand-parents? Don’t blame us for this fiasco!!
And, whilst on the same statement, how do you justify to us and our children, why they have to live in pokey houses, with little room to swing a cat, and gardens the size of pocket handkerchiefs, without a green field or park in walking distance, and no facilities of any note? How will you answer the Charles Dickens of 2050 who writes about the appalling slums built hurriedly in the early part of the century by greedy developers, who cared nothing for the stunted lives they left in their wake. Or, indeed what of the future John Clare,or William Blake who will castigate you for destroying the beauty of the land that once was England – a land that lives only in folk memory.
And finally, are you honestly, truthfully suggesting, that you care more for our children and grand-children than we do!!!?