The Telegraph – Prince of Wales’ charity says there is nothing wrong with being a Nimby
The following article was taken from www.telegraph.co.uk
Prince of Wales’ charity says there is
nothing wrong with being a Nimby
The Prince of Wales’ charity says that it is “perfectly reasonable to be a Nimby”, because developers too often build ugly homes.
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community said it was acceptable for communities’ “default setting to be a Nimby” until developers built more attractive homes.
A Nimby attitude – which stands for Not In My Back Yard – is used by critics to describe communities which are fighting development on their doorstep.
The charity was reacting to an announcement by Communities secretary Sajid Javid that the Government is to set up a £5billion fund to build tens of thousands of new homes quickly.
In the letter, Ben Bolgar, the charity’s director, said it shared the minister’s “frustration about Nimbys unintentionally helping to perpetuate the reactive planning system and over-inflated house prices we have in this country.
“That said, the general quality of new development over the last 70 years has been appalling and hardly inspires confidence.
“At present it is therefore perfectly reasonable for the default setting to be a Nimby until and unless a land owner and their chosen developer are capable of proving to local communities that the quality of any proposed scheme will not be diluted after planning is granted.
“With the current competitive land buying process and prevalence of volume housebuilders delivering new homes, once the land sale or option agreement has been struck for ‘best value’ it’s often game over for dreaming of great community infrastructure and nicely built new homes.
“What is needed to build trust and convince the Nimbys good placemaking is actually possible, is to separate out those schemes where the uplift in land value can be captured to make a quality scheme possible from those schemes applying the ‘standard model’.
“If this became better understood by communities, a key part of the political process and how ‘sustainable’ development was assessed then we might stand a chance of building new places that people actually like.”
The comments were welcomed by rural campaigners. Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “I once heard a developer say ‘people aren’t saying “not in my backyard”, they’re saying “no s*** in my backyard”’.”
He added: “All the evidence is that people will (however reluctantly) support good quality housing that meets need (rather than just further enriching already wealthy people) provided it doesn’t cause disproportionate environmental damage.
“’Not in my back yard’ but I don’t care a bout yours’ is not a morally defensible position. But do early standing up for beauty, nature and people’s quality of life, whether near or far, certainly is.”
However David O’Leary, policy director at the HomeBuilders’ Federation, said: “The promotion of outdated and misplaced views about the quality of the new homes and communities simply serves to do the Nimby’s work for them.
“Those with direct experience of modern homes appreciate the build quality, energy efficiency and attractive community environment that house builders are creating all over the country.
“Place-making is a key part of development today as builders work with local authorities to ensure new neighbourhoods are built sympathetically and meet the highest possible design standards.”
Gavin Barwell, the housing and planning minister, said: “I don’t have a problem if people oppose individual developments but not whole areas.”
The Prince made headlines in 1984 when he famously attacked modern British architecture, describing a planned extension to the National Gallery as “like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend”.
The Prince then published A Vision of Britain in 1989, setting out his view of architecture in the UK and backed plans for the Poundbury development in Dorset built on Duchy of Cornwall land which started construction in 1993.
The Prince’s Foundation, formerly the Institute of Architecture, aims to “practise and teach principles that can be applied across different building cultures, to help create a harmonious, timeless architectural legacy”.
Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph disclosed how the charity offered to help local communities take on developers who are proposing ugly schemes.
The Prince’s foundation recently launched a “Bimby” initiative – standing for “Beauty In My Back Yard” – to offer tips on how to engage with developers in the planning process to ensure that sympathetic homes are built.