27 July 2000
The Shoreham Herald prints an unprecedented number of letters (5) protesting over the housing development at the derelict part of Southlands Hospital. Shoreham. The main complaint seems to be the use of an existing access road, e.g. St. Giles Close. Even the furore over the King's Head and Ropetackle in 1981 to 1983 never started with such a rash of complaints in the newspaper. I do not think that the protests, although honest, were particularly well informed and to the outsider may seem like personal prejudices.
The Shoreham Herald also includes an article entitled "Residents feel the Squeeze" with a direct objection against the increased density of housing on another plot in Old Shoreham.
However, I am not in the least bit suprised about the complaints. Only anybody who had moved into the area in the last 10 years could have failed to pick up the general feeling* about housing densities and loss of green space, which what it all boils down to (debatable). I have mentioned it at every Adur Quality of Life meeting about the problems of "town cramming", but I must admit I was surprised to hear of the intensity of the complaints. The Planning Officers explains that they had rules about the density of housing and that these were less than at Brighton. However, whether these are enforcable remains to be seen. Recent developments on Shoreham beach at Emerald Quay, the Bovis Homes on the Beves Wharf and the Middle Road have all pushed the urban crowding in Shoreham beyond limits to what the local people feel comfortable with. The response to my letter to the Shoreham Herald on the subject indicated this.
(*People that come from London, or estates at Moulscombe, do not seem to notice. They are so used to living in crowds, they can make life miserable for people who aren't.)
may come down to the Lord Roger's plan for high density housing explained
in earlier versions of this Bulletin. This
is just outrageous spin, or would be if it was not so blatantly obvious
that even with judicious design it would not be popular to increase the
number of homes per hectare when the densities were already too high. There
does not seem to be any recent research figures on the number of people
who like living in high density apartments, but in America (Chicago) a
figure of 18% seems about right, and it is probably much less in Sussex.
(NB: I suspect many young people.couples will be so desperate for somewhere to live, that they will buy almost any property within their means. Anything more densely populated than the Greenacres Estate, I would consider inappropriate for Shoreham.)
PS: I know that the Rogers Plan has been endorsed rather uncritically, by lots of people, who see the only alternative as building on the Downs. So I am ready to receive disagreement, contrary opinions. My main argument is that it is hardly my idea of planning, building lots of houses that are not really liked by the occupants? and spoiling everybody else's life as well. Do I remember saying "Decent Homes for Decent People" in the "Cathy Come Home" days of the 1960s. Up went a lot of tower blocks which proved to be a disaster (except for an occasional Peregrine Falcon).
One question that is often asked of newcomers to Shoreham is: "Why do you move to Shoreham?" The answer is often to get away from the crowds of the city or larger towns like Brighton. What is happening now is that the town is being turned into another Brighton with all the high density homes. This is the same policy that made people leave the cities in the first place! With the increased housing comes congested roads, noise, lack of play spaces for the children, and worst of all the continual arguments and ill feeling that always occur over shared access routes and space.