NEWS that second home owners have blocked an affordable housing project should concern all those worried about where the area’s next generation will live.
Anyone who knows this elevated corner of Ambleside will appreciate that the site – off Fisherbeck Park – is indeed in a spectacular location with views across to Wetherlam and nearby Todd Cragg.
It is unthinkable that anyone buying a home there would not have seen the views as a major consideration and, therefore, it is likely that their value would have been a factor in the overall property price.
In that respect, local resident Ashley Cooper is absolutely right to say that if you buy a house, you buy the view.
But is it right to go a stage further and suggest the land buyers have prevented an act of environmental ‘vandalism’, as one objector suggested.
What about community vandalism? The slow, unchecked erosion of our Lake District places which can become ghost villages at this time of year as second home owners leave and holiday lets quieten during the winter? People born and bred in this area might not have a birthright to live here, but surely they deserve a choice?
Indeed, some may consider this land buying deal as a textbook example of Nimbyism at its worst.
There is an uncharitable cynicism about it, which goes against the community spirit we take for granted in this area.
The property owners who bought the land have, through their solicitors, claimed this action should be seen more as protecting the Lake District from over-development.
Yet this application had fully negotiated the appropriate democratic process – being approved by the Lakes Parish Council and then the Lake District National Park Authority.
What it has actually done is expose a fundamental flaw in the process.
It is pointless public authorities allocating sites for affordable housing if ultimately they remain available only to the people with the deepest pockets.