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01 February 2010

Mob rule rules! [More:]
I live in a little cul-de-sac that was built in the 1960s, 16 flats and 13 houses. The end house nearest the road has a strip of land next to it, and a developer recently bought it. He's planning to build a 4-bedroomed house on the land (the other houses are 2 or 3 bedroomed) with balconies, bigger than the footprint of the existing houses, no garage, just a horrid, nasty house, trying to squeeze the biggest building he can into a narrow strip of land to maximise profit.

So, this evening a crowd of us went along to the Parish Council meeting. This is the local council, who makes recommendation to the District Council on whether or not the development should be allowed. The District Council makes the final decision.

My suggestion that we march on the Parish Council offices chanting and carrying burning torches was rejected by the other residents, but we turned up en masse in any event.

The new owner of the house + land was there, and he said his piece. Then our appointed spokesperson (not me) put forward our objections. Two other residents spoke, and then the council members discussed the plans, looking in detail at the blueprints.

The Chairman was all for recommending the development be allowed to go ahead, but then, completely against protocol, we all chipped in again ("No other house has a balcony" "This new house will exceed the existing building line both front and back" "There'll be no street parking for visitors" etc.) and the other council members then all changed their minds and the Chairman had to be swayed by democracy and agree that this is an over-development of a small site and that it shouldn't be allowed!

This is the first stage. We all intend to go along to the District Council meeting and object again. But it was awesome to see how the opinion was swayed because we held our ground and kept on voicing our objections.
Yay! I love to hear about how things like this actually work for once.
posted by sperose 01 February | 16:01
Perhaps your neighbours will be okay with torches for the next meeting.
posted by deborah 01 February | 16:25
Sounds American to me.

The giant home on a small plot is an ultimate yuck on our landscape.

I'm proud of my country but the insult value of using that statement in proper context is without measure.
posted by buzzman 01 February | 17:43
*idly wondering whether one can post a pitchfork to a certain address in the London 'burbs*
posted by danf 01 February | 17:49
Yay for local democracy.
posted by mdonley 01 February | 17:49
I'm so jealous. There's nothing at all we can do here in my neighborhood. My 1954 ranch house is totally dwarfed by the gigantic monstrosity squatting on a tiny plot of land next door. They're all over the neighborhood, huge hideous McMansions with about 10 feet of clearance between them. Hate them, hate them, hate them and yet they keep on springing up.
posted by mygothlaundry 01 February | 18:53
I hope that some day you are stopped from doing something that you want to do on your own land because your neighbours have different tastes and opinions.

(forgive me essexjen)
posted by Meatbomb 01 February | 23:49
Same argument that stops people from being allowed to dry their laundry on clotheslines.
posted by gaspode 02 February | 00:33
I'm kind of with Meatbomb in principle on this, bit I hate those huge houses on small blocks in suburbia where they stick out like dog's balls, so yay for democracy/bullying!
posted by dg 02 February | 07:43
Nothing to do with tastes and opinions, but with suitability and amenity, and a greedy developer trying to squeeze a giant house onto a tiny plot, totally out of context with the neighbourhood, purely for profit and with no regard for the residents.
posted by essexjan 02 February | 12:31
15,000 sq. ft. marijuana "superstore" opens in Oakland || Of all the things I love about this video: