Wednesday, 29 July 2015

There Goes The Neighbourhood … 

Did I ever tell you I live in Brentwood … ?   In Essex … ?

I live in Brentwood: in Essex.

So you know.

And, again, so you know, I live on a street called Rollason Way: named after local girl, and sports journalist, Helen Rollason.

The street’s some seven or eight years old, now: and a mix of socially housed tenants, like me, part-buy residents, and private residents.

For many years … ?

For many years, there’s been a patch of ground in Saint James Road that’s not been built on.

Effectively?   Waste ground.

I’ve always taken the view that it should maybe used as extra parking space for locals: there’s really not enough, around here.

OR be used as a small park.

Something like that.

I’ve ALSO felt that building more flats — or offices, shops, what-have-you — shouldn’t be built there.

More shops would add to any congestion in the area.

Offices, likewise.

As would more flats: which would also add to any parking problems.

I went by the patch of found, this afternoon.

To find these signs up.

Hmmm …


Now, I’ve not made any phone calls.

Talked to no-one to find out more about this.

But frankly?

Frankly, if Taylor Wimpey — owners and developers for that particular patch of ground — are advertising the fact that flats are ‘coming soon,’ then I’d expect to see something being built there by the end of the year.

In fact, if memory serves, they had the relevant planning permissions from Brentwood Council: permissions that were/are valid until then.

And, yes, I’ve reason to suspect I may have got that wrong.

But also reason to remember the simple fact that things were/are afoot, there.


You see, I’ve — personally — opposed any more building in the area for some time.

Even going as far — on two occasions — as speaking against building at the various Brentwood Council planning committee meetings.   (Mrs Laura Ngo also spoke against it, on a third occasion: with equally fruitless results.)

All three times … ?

Permission was granted for the buildings to go ahead.

Against the wishes of local residents.

And against — as far as I could see — the advice of the various emergency services.

Now I have to give credit to Brentwood West Councillors, Karen Chilvers (Liberal Democrat) and William Russell (Conservative) who both spoke out against further development in the area.

At least, the few times I went to the relevant committee meetings.

But … ?

Well, as well-intented those attempts were, they got us no-where.

We now face the probability — indeed, absolutely certainty — of more flats in the area.


Personally … ?

Well, I know perfectly well that going into politics can be either good, or bad*.   Can help or hinder.

But, on a personal level?

It’s left me thinking that local councils can produce benefits, won’t necessarily produce benefits to the people the councils represent.

I think in this case?

The Council — at least, many Conservative members of it — have approved these plans as a revenue raising effect: more residents, means more poll-tax income.

And have done so, regardless of any safety concerns, and regardless of any objections from those of us already here.

It’s also contributed to my own personal decision — in the past few local elections — to behave the way I have.

In deliberately spoiling my vote.

I have no other way of objecting to my local councils collective behaviour.

Can I suggest others do likewise?   I see no other way for us voters to abstain, when we are collectively let down.

*        Over the years, I’ve had several people tell me I should stand for election as a Brentwood councillor.   My usual joking reply is that I’d rather in outside, pissing in, than inside, pissing out.   That’s an incredibly course way of expressing my sentiment.   That sentiment is simply this: I believe I would have no good effect on my ward.   And possibly less than those Councillors already in place.

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