If you’re on twitter and read this please use the hashtag #greenandpleasant to let me know what the countryside means to you
Our countryside is in danger, you may not care – I would urge you to reconsider becuase it is very likely that even if it doesn’t matter to you now, at some point further on in life it will, very much and it may well be too late then. I would even go so far to say that the people responsible for endangering our countryside think they care but sadly they don’t understand or care enough, and are insistent on taking us into very scary territory indeed, ignoring the need for balance and just hearing pound signs pinging and rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of what a boost the economy will have and how clever they have been. But its really not that simple, it rarely is.
I have bantering on for some years now about the lack of vision in the planning and development of our towns and cities but now we have reached a crunch point, one from which there will be no going back becuase once it is gone, it’s …well, just that. Gone. You might live in a city and hate the countryside; mud, grass stains, nettles, insects and all that nonsense but building on more and more of our greenfield sites around our towns and cities isn’t going to make our cities less cramped, or magically turn irresponsible landlords into nice ones or, produce houses that people not on the property ladder (and a proportion of those who are) can AFFORD to live in, or want to in many cases. Our homes are no longer castles they are very cheap imitations. I’m not going to quote statistics produced by the govt. to persuade us we need more housing because they cant even tell us how many people are actually living in this country – statistics are a fabulous invention but flawed and abused in the use of. But I do know there are empty homes, unsold homes, and brownfield sites that would be far better for affordable housing and that in any case it doesn’t solve the problems tenants face regarding rental properties, those issues go beyond simply building houses like there’s no tomorrow.
In this time of economic difficulties local services will be stretched to breaking point because trust me, we’ve had at least six large housing developments on our greenfield sites over the past twenty years and we are not talking about houses that are well designed and sustainably built – thats not why developers develop and there are very few developers who allow sensible sustainable building ideas such as rain water harvesting, good insulation, water recycling units, solar heating etc to get in the way of making more profit, as for garden space – well apparently NOBODY wants a garden anymore and they really want to be able to see in their neighbours house, or even hear their neighbours through the wall so they build houses the minimum distance allowable from the next, packing them all as best they can and they make promises, of course they do, but if your local community doesn’t have the get up and go to keep tabs on them, they know every trick in the book to wriggle out of every single promise. So the bus stop doesn’t get built, the communal garden isn’t maintained, the shops don’t get built, the school doesn’t get built and hey presto another ghetto of shiny new houses squeezed into Farmer Browns once prized apple orchard or on the side of the sweeping downland where once families went blackberrying and picnicked and took their leisure out in the countryside. Emotive?! Yes it’s emotive we need space, we need rolling hills and fields of green for our wellbeing, the wildlife, the plants all need the countryside. Our house is full at weekends of friends coming down to get away from the city and get some headspace – get some space! in fact.