Those who don’t read the Daily Echo may have missed this story which concerns a planning application in Heather Hill, off Chilworth Road. The plans appear to conflict with the Village Design Statement and, not surprisingly, objections have been raised. Events then unfold in a depressingly familiar pattern. The Borough Council starts to get cold feet about the possibility of costs should the applicants succeed at appeal. The matter is then taken out of the hands of the council’s southern planning committee (where local ward councillors stand a reasonable chance of carrying the vote) to the council’s Borough-wide planning policy committee (where they don’t).
This leads to the denial of the democratic wishes of local people at ward level, and it is happening all too regularly.
Some of the comments attaching to the Echo article illustrate how “the politics of envy” work to ensure that enclaves like Chilworth can’t be protected:
- Lets hope the rich property tycoons of Chilworth, have loads of houses squeezed in between their mansions, and see how they cope with cars parked all over the place loud music and rubbish left everywhere…
- So just redevelop the whole area with similarly small housing, like everywhere else in Southampton. Problem solved – now the smaller houses are totally in keeping with the housing already there.
- The rest of Southampton has been redeveloped into ever smaller homes, so Chilworth shouldn’t be given this special protection anyway.