Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time to vote Green - locally, at least

I've not previously blogged on the subject of the council ripping up the garages behind our house and building three council homes in their place. Regardless of my personal views on the subject, I understand affordable housing is required, although why we've allowed councils from the other end of Essex to buy up housing stock here and move people out from their council areas to ours does make me wonder why we couldn't have done the same.

I've accepted that the final decision on building behind us (literally, right up to our back fence) will be rubber-stamped next week. From the off it's been clear our council will push this through regardless of valid concerns from other neighbours, who will find their lack of parking squeezed even further. In fact, one of the benefits of a daily local newspaper is discovering just how unaccountable our council is, and how it's quite high-handed and dismissive of its residents (or "customers" as we're all now known). I'm sure it's the same elsewhere too.

One of the reasons given for developing on the garage sites - despite the fact they were still mainly in use - was that there was no impact on the local environment. After all, you're at least replacing a load of concrete and tarmac with some green garden space. But now this morning I see they're felling a tree 50 metres down the road, and I can't help but speculate that the large space the tree previously occupied with miraculously turning into parking spaces for those people inconvenienced by the new development. So much for there being no environmental impact. One of the attractions of moving to Shrub End is how green it is, with wide open streets and plenty of trees and other greenery. Clearly the council feels it's okay to start encroaching on that.

With climate change affecting the way we live now (despite some idiots who persist in denying the obvious, that it's man-made), and the incessant build of new housing - even in these austere times - it's hard not to get depressed about it all, frankly. At some point we'll have to ask hard questions about population and how many people this island can accommodate, never mind the importance of green space for our mental health, never mind the wider environment.

In the meantime, the really depressing thing about what's going on is that it's being pushed through by a Liberal Democrat-led administration, one that continues to favour development over everything else, and doesn't even bother to secure much-needed infrastructure to support all these extra bodies we're welcoming into Colchester with open arms. It leads me to understand that I might as well "waste" my mark in future and vote with my conscience, because if Lib Dem are as bad as Tory and Labour, then there's little point in recording support for any of them. Let's just hope others wake up soon to the importance of voting Green, although you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath on that score.

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