Field of dreams

Posted July 12, 2012

Field of dreams

If you build (on) it … they will come.

Sadly, I’m talking about property developers, not American baseball heroes.

Last year the coalition government introduced the Localism Bill which saw the relaxing of rural planning criteria in favour of developers. I know! It’s like giving Cherie Blair a no limit American Express card, setting her loose in Harrods and hoping that she’ll show restraint.

The Government (typical of its speak first, think later modus operandi) eventually watered down its original proposals in the light of public opposition. Unfortunately, the race to concrete over the countryside had already begun.

Which brings me to the field in my picture (sob!). It lies on the approach to Thaxted, a beautiful, historic village famous for its Morris dancers, medieval Guildhall and magnificent Church. The land has always been considered as unsuitable for development. Suddenly, it is being sacrificed, with the parish council’s blessing. Why, when there are plenty of brown field sites that could be developed instead? It doesn’t make sense.

The parish council is playing an odd game. It has lobbed a slice of green land to developers in the manner of, “here, take this, and don’t come back.” What are the chances of that happening?

They will come. They will keep building.

No more fields of dreams in Thaxted.

Postscript 17 Jan 2013:   And so it begins ... Yesterday, Uttlesford District Council approved the building of 60 houses on this field. The Parish Council, in an eleventh hour U-turn, objected. Too little, too late.


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