Nimbyism, past and present
Nimbyism (No building in my back yard) has been in the news lately with campaigns against the building of estates behind Barton Park and on Crown Estate land opposite Tesco.
These current campaigns remind me of similar campaigns that were waged against developments in the past.
When Barton Park was proposed a local residents committee was formed called “The Manton Hollow and Bath Road Residents”. This committee campaigned against any building on what is now the well established estate of Barton Park.
There was an even louder and more vociferous campaign against the development of Town Mill. The whole scheme was pushed through by Kennet District Council and led to the opening up and public access to Coopers Meadow as well as an extension of the Waitrose car park across the river. Most of the opposition came from some residents of Kennet Place and the then Chairman of Kennet Council (Marlborough councillor Tony Gray) was subject to angry objections in public meetings. The fact that in the council elections a few months later Tony Gray topped the poll suggest that the noisy opposition was not widely supported.
A more recent objection to development was opposition to the building of the Marlborough Rugby clubhouse. Building on the Common is bound to be controversial and this decision went to a public enquiry where the Inspector found in favour of the Rugby Club and the Town Council who were supporting them.
Who can doubt that the Rugby Club is a major asset to the town with its training for so many of the town’s young people?
I think the opponents of development should look at themselves and imagine what might have happened if previous negative campaigns had succeeded. Many of them are living in houses whose development was opposed.
Small infill developments in Marlborough are often exclusive and expensive and geared towards the elderly while the development of larger estates usually gives a good proportion of affordable housing.
This is something that is very important to many people in Marlborough.