Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Horns of a dilemma

I am a lucky person but maybe that's because I "always look on the bright side of life."

Yesterday I spent most of the day in a Planning Appeal Hearing.  I was supporting the Council, and on the opposite side of the table were our neighbours.

We, "the residents", did a good job of making our case.  There were a lot of us in the room and we presented our points effectively.

I don't know whether the Planning Inspector will uphold the appeal or not.  He seemed to be a very fair and reasonable gentleman and I have complete faith in his abilities.  He had clearly done his homework, as we had, prior to the meeting and this was very reassuring.

You might think that I might resent my neighbours for putting us through the stresses and strains associated with the Planning and Appeal process, but I don't.

Ken and Jane are trying to improve their circumstances, and I don't know that many people that would say no to an opportunity to make a quick profit.  What they don't realise is that, regardless of how the Planning Inspector concludes this case, they have done me a favour.

How many of us know our neighbours?  We might say hello.  We might nod acknowledgment when we pass our neighbours in the street.  We might even pop round to collect a package left by a courier company in our absence.  But that isn't really knowing them.

Because of this planning application I have knocked on doors and met people.  I've had proper conversations with the people in my neighbourhood.  I've invited local people into my home for tea, coffee, wine, beer and cake (always cake).  I've got e-mail addresses and phone numbers.  I don't just say hello to these people anymore.  We stop and chat when we bump into one another.  And you know what - they're the best people.

I've had an amazing amount of support from this wonderful group of people and I like living here even more than before.  I have Ken and Jane to thank for this.

I hope the Appeal is refused, but Dave and I need to think about what to do if it is allowed.  Previously we had said we would move.  In fact we had planned a big extension to our house but have scaled back our plans to something far more modest.  Our current plan is to fix the house and mend the things that need mending, decorate the things that need decorating.

If the Appeal is allowed we will then have a house that is ready for sale (in a few years time after the build is completed because nobody wants to move in to a house that is next to an existing or potential building site).  If the Appeal is refused we will have a house that is mended and decorated and a pleasant place to live.

The dilemma is that if the Appeal is allowed and we plan to move, we will be moving away from lovely people.  Maybe that would be enough of a reason to stay put.

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