We are not NIMBYs

DUNCAN Barkes and Councillor Bower have both featured in the Bognor Regis Observer concerning housing.

The former rightly says it is wrong to label any opposition to housing growth NIMBY, just as wrong is to condemn those who advocate more housing as uncaring about the environment.

No-one wants housing that is poorly built, sited or supported re infrastructure or services. But we do have to face a serious question which cannot be ignored, in all justice, if we are to avoid serious consequences for the future.

There is, apparently, no right to a home, though there is a right to respect for your home – this assumes you

have one.

It is common sense as well as recorded fact that lack of home handicaps people from their earliest years onwards: health, life-expectancy, education, employment, opportunity. This brings social cost indeed and we all have to pay for it.

So when authorities decide on our behalf what level of home-building is needed, that has to be their first duty, to meet actual need.

So if it is argued that it is a choice between concentrating on creating a better economy and employment against providing homes, as is being advanced, that is purely misguided as well as politically-motivated. If those new jobs are created, pray explain where any additional population will be housed? And if employees are to come from those currently needing housing and who live here already, again how will their housing needs be met?

It is clear no-one in any area wants more housing, and they will deploy the arguments to match, and this will create a not-here attitude.

A national survey a couple of years back found that those already owning a house are the least sympathetic to those who need a home, sad to say.

But councils like Arun have to balance all those objectors from every community against an overriding duty to provide homes which people can afford SOMEWHERE within this district.

THAT is the question.

If it does not, we are entitled to ask, what then becomes of those people in that need? As a former councillor I know who it was who said in a councillors’ seminar about affordable housing that there are empty homes in Wigan, and I can see that this good councillor hasn’t moved there yet.

May I ask Councillor Bower to firstly say how many people in Arun are in need of affordable housing, then since 2003 how many have been provided?

The estimate of unmet given to

Arun councillors in 2003 was just

under 6,000 affordable homes to be completed by 2011.

I also ask him to say what effect he thinks this unmet need is having on the lives of the families affected?

Arun cannot afford a lack of homes for those in need. It also has to bear

its fair share of provision, based on local need as it is.

Against that duty, all the blandishments of opponents have to be weighed, however persuasive their reasoning from their standpoint.

It has to be a case, not of Not Here, nor of That’s the Limit, but of What is the Need and Where will it be Met.

Jan Cosgrove

Longford Road,

Bognor Regis