On 15th March, yet again FLAG hits in the Oxford Times, finding themselves defending the nimby stereotype that anyone who dares stand up and declares their views contrary to a plan becomes outcast with.
“With the current furore about national house building, the new tactic in government and media is to shame the nimbies. To complain against the unsoundness of a plan, to highlight blatant unfairness or to challenge the inaccuracies of published data is to be nothing less than a bleating nimby. Standing in the way of progress and thwarting needy millennials from their first time buy – what selfish, privileged, complacent baby boomers we are. Shame on us.
Shame shuts up people. The plan to build 700 more houses at Kingston Bagpuize will irrevocably change the rural nature of the community and do untold damage to the environment and wildlife. Yes, the parish of Tubney and Fyfield will be four times the size, and yes, the A420 will be incapable of safely supporting 1400 extra cars on the daily commute. Yes, GP surgeries and local school are already saturated. But Oxford’s unmet housing needs must be met somehow, otherwise Sajid Javid and his henchmen will come a-visiting.
But I and my FLAG colleagues are not afraid of the branding. Because we know the truth – that the landowner, the agent, the developers, the builders and the district council all gain from this sacrificial lamb: 85 innocent acres of arable and grazing land converts into profit of £1million per acre (tax free) to be turned into high-value high-demand high-end houses. Easy to build, easy to sell, easy to win. Ker-ching. With a handful of affordable homes and sheltered accommodation thrown in as a sweetener. All boxes ticked and everyone’s a winner. All that’s still to be done is shame the local resistance into silence and rough up the dissenting voices in local councils. Then it’ll be a done deal.
This nimby says that the whole shebang is a canny scheme to make a fast fat buck for the few, but not for the many. So here’s a call to arms to nimbies everywhere. Continue objecting, and do not be shamed into collusion. If we don’t fight back with local knowledge, accurate statistics, concrete evidence and logical approach, there will be a permanent reminder of our complicity in our sorry back yards.