Land News

Help, there’s a NIMBY in my back yard!

Lawson Fairbank, 12th April, 2005

There’s a lot of speculation in the media at the moment about the possibilities of mass development on the greenbelt and it seems to me that the perspectives are nearly always skewed toward the negative implications of developing on greenbelt land and usually from the point of view of those lucky people in the UK who own houses in the most desirable locations.

It’s obvious why NIMBY’s are worried: they fear that development will lower the values of their homes either by ruining the aesthetics of the surrounding land or simply by diluting the property market - lets face it, the lack of housing in the UK is rather convenient for homeowners owners keen to retain their over-inflated house values. The stark reality is that without first time buyers – the foundations of the property market – there is no way that the property market can remain healthy.

In protesting about every new development that comes to fruition, and making life impossible for young people who simply want a home, they are actually damaging their own property values in the long run. In every way possible these people are burying their heads in the sand and these same people will be the first to complain when the property market collapses from under their feet.

Don’t NIMBY children need education too?

The reality is that in the south of England in particular, public sector workers are increasingly unable top affords to buy homes. The knock-on effect of this is that essential workers such as teachers and nurses are forced to turn down jobs in and around London because they simply can’t afford to live there. I’m sure that the average NIMBY sympathises with these people, but most are unprepared to accept that sometimes small sacrifices (in their case a proportion of the value of their homes ) have to be made in order to improve the country as a whole – surely that is just being a responsible citizen?

People in the south east often pay more than 4 times the average regional annual salary for a basic terraced property – usually the most an individual will be loaned as a mortgage by a bank or building society. The problem is further compacted by the fact that the average public sector salary is less than that of a private sector wage. This naturally forces key workers further and further away from their places of work and makes vacancies for key workers much harder to fill.

Government Recognition

In managing what is now a crisis the government has recognised housing as being a top level issue that needs to be addressed in order to keep the public sector running smoothly in the south east. New housing initiatives and tough local housing targets should push through the building of housing in areas of high need and in theory NIMBY’s will have far less power to stop such development, unless there is a good reason for it.

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