Is another supermarket really in the national interest?

 

is-another-supermarket-really-in-the-national-interest

Turns out you really need another Aldi’s in your life.

I am told time and time again that the rampant destruction of the countryside for housing must happen.  People must have homes, I am told, big homes, homes with spare bedrooms and office space and just extra rooms for who knows what, not to mention second homes and holiday homes and homes that sit empty for all but a few weeks in the summer. All land must go to housing, I am told  whether it is of value to wildlife or not. It is in the ‘National Interest.’

However, if this is true, why are we still granting planning permission to unnecessary developments, such as the massive Aldi supermarket currently under construction on the Isle of Sheppey? The massive Aldi supermarket which will sit next to the massive Morrison’s supermarket and the massive Macdonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why, if land for housing is so desperately needed, are we saying yes to such waste of land? Is another supermarket and Macdonald’s really in the national interest?

But increasingly in our country it feels that there is no planning when it comes to planning permission. Developers can build what they like with no thought to how it fits in with the needs of existing communities. Ugly housing is thrown up around villages, housing estates developed on roads completely unsuited to increased traffic. Developers make quick money and have no need to build schools or hospitals and pay for the staff to run them or subsidise public transport for the communities they have flung up in locations which have none.

It seems that the needs of business to make money take precedence over the needs of people to live in attractive working communities and that is why the currently rash of development seems so piecemeal , so full of chancers, so unplanned, because the government is under the cosh of big business and big business doesn’t give a monkeys about our interests.

Now you see it, Now you don’t.

 

scrubland-destroyed

In two days this area of scrubland and meadow was destroyed.

Are you feeling as overwhelmed as I am by the rate of destruction of wildlife rich sites around your town? Every day I seem to drive along a road and see a place which last year was full of song birds and slow worms and this year has been ripped apart by would be developers.

 

Last year these sites would have already been given planning permission and be ringed with reptile exclusion fencing this year things have changed. With the government brow beating local councils into providing land for housing then cowboy developers everywhere are seeing the main chance.

Suddenly it seems there is a flood of people ripping out scrub, tearing up meadows, turning over reptile sites with no planning permission, no surveys, no mitigation. In the last few weeks two sites near to my home have gone the way of the bulldozers with not a reptile exclusion fence in sight.

Presumably the landowners feel that in the present climate they can get away with it. After all, isn’t this what the Government wants? Not all this old scrub, bristling with bird song but land laid bare ready for bricks and mortar?

The terrible thing is that these developers are probably right. Natural England has already been stripped to their bones and wildlife officers in local councils have gone the way of the dinosaurs. And I? I can be angry at them all. I can rally and weep and rage against every destruction of meadow and scrubland, every reduction in my quality of life, every step my home makes away from the countryside and into suburbia but I cannot fight them all. The epidemic of destruction is simply too big.