Conversation Area

We all need to talk to our neighbours more, according to the BBC, who no doubt sponsored the Silver Jubilee street parties and appear not to have neighbours themselves (unless you count White City tube station).

I would have put links in that last paragraph, but I am pleading pregnancy again and wanting to be pragmatic.

Pragnancy, if you will.

Back to the point.

I live in a Conservation Area (note spelling) at the front of my house (Multimap Birds Eye view, North facing). The back doesn’t count, which is just as well as it needs a lot of doing doing. Near me and slightly upstream is a house which had a bomb diffused in it two years ago. It had recently been left by an aging brother and sister who were no longer aging to the Gentlewomen of Ipswich, c/o the Salvation Army. It is an old house. A large, old house. It would suit a film set well. Not the kind of film I enjoy. The front garden is overgrown and the whole thing is in a state of disrepair, although we did get ideas for our new front door from it by careful peeking through the undergrowth.

The Gentlewomen of Ipswich (c/o the Salvation Army), politely pointed out that great houses full of maintenance needs and undiffused WW2 bombs were not really what they were after and, being a fussy and persuasive lot, sold it to a property developer in March. The place, not the time.

I have not met this property developer, but I imagine I would not like to. I have not been her friend. She applied to build a new dwelling at the rear of the large house (it does have a large garden, reaching back to the road behind us, which is more than I can say for our garden). I did some pre-pregnancy thinking (the sort that works better for me), and realised that there would be consequences on the Conservation Area if parking were not adequately provided and retained at the back for both houses in the process. I also decided to complain about the number of trees she intended to remove in the garden, which conveniently hide our bathroom and daughter’s bedroom from the gaze of a low block of flats most seasons of the year.

Anyway, the dwelling was allowed to go ahead, with a vast number of restrictions. Including, satisfyingly, my parking objection. But not a lot was said about trees. I fear I may have to get a larger pot plant in the bathroom window. 

In October the developer from March put in an application to have the parking restriction removed, citing a few rather sketchy reasons. I was informed by a neighbour who was unable to make much of a fuss herself and who moved the planning notice to somewhere I was more likely to see it. Knowing my neighbours well enough: several are older, some are very busy with long hours or children, a few are new to the street, I realised that I was the person to get in touch with the council again. Very Wife of Noble Character and not a Threescore type of thing to do at all. I am not a letter-writer by habit and don’t usually complain about anything if I can help it.

It’s good to know your neighbours. It’s nice when they ask you to stand up for them. So I acted on their behalf. 

We heard that we won this week, so the developer cannot have it her way. The consequences would almost certainly have been detrimental to the street view in the long run, so I am pleased about that.

I am dreading the conversation with the neighbour who mentioned this to me though in the first place. She also wants ’20’s plenty’ signs put up along our stretch as we are near a primary school and a dangerous corner. Perhaps I should conserve my energy.


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