Wise words and a great name from Carole Woodland in the Observer recently (Transparency Is Vital Component, December 4).
The comments about central government and local ‘consultation’ rang very true-especially regarding the disingenuous term ‘affordable housing’ which it hardly ever is.
The same issue contained your report that a plan to build 70 houses on the vandalised Sidley Sports Ground is likely to face rejection.
Some of these housing applications, within the current central government requirement to produce more homes, have significant arguments either way but shoe-horning so many properties into such a relatively small site in the centre of a close-knit but already densely formed community seems immediately impracticable and unreasonable.
The likely pressure on resources coupled with the generation of even more traffic in a narrow corridor makes this proposal somewhat ridiculous and that’s even before the loss of amenity is taken into consideration!
Sidley has endured enormous disruption for the supposed ‘greater good’ in recent years and this will have highlighted the downside of ‘improvements’ to everyone who lives and works there.
The Sports Ground is, of course, attractive to some as a green field development but it already serves a long-standing purpose as an open space or urban lung.
The fact that its social club has been burned-out could, in fact, provide a regenerative opportunity.
If the planning authority was able to work in conjunction with a builder who was willing to create some small-scale housing provision around the edges as it were it could be a win, win for all concerned.
Properly managed, the finance generated might enable a modest social/sports centre to be re-established.
This wouldn’t be the same as a large-scale housing development funnelling profits in just one direction but it would be eminently sensible and perhaps real affordable housing for some locals could be enabled in the process.
There are many positive aspects to this approach, especially enhanced security around communal building, including schools, that can be regularly subject to damage, disruption and sometimes destruction.
Sidley’s existing geographical layout alone indicates that it deserves something much better than an ill thought out major housing intrusion!
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