Sunday, April 12, 2009

A view to a kill

It's funny how a recession can lead to the most blatant of liberties being taken in the name of protecting/creating jobs.

The Staffordshire Sentinel newspaper recently reported on the case of the residents of Birchall Avenue in Sandyford whose life has been blighted by the building of a giant warehouse near their homes, which blocks off the far-reaching views they once had.

The culprit is Churchill China, a pottery manufacturer that I worked for a long time ago. The company claims that the new development will provide up to - wait for it - 20 new jobs. This is obviously sufficient justification for the local council to allow the erection of a 25 metre-high grey and blue monstrosity that makes no attempt to blend into its surroundings.

Planning rules apparently state that there is no entitlement to a view merely to daylight, so the 20 metre gap between the warehouses and surrounding gardens is the absolute minimum to let the light in and bugger the view. Some residents are claiming that the combination of the warehouse and the inevitable additional noise it will produce have devalued their houses by as much as £20,000 but the management at Churchill couldn't care less it seems.

While I'm all for business success in these straitened times, I can't help but wonder if the jobs supposedly being created are actually jobs displaced from another location due to Churchill's consolidation of their operations onto one site. If so, then Churchill has behaved shabbily and should have the good grace to make goodwill payments to the affected homeowners.

How likely is that? Somewhere between slim and none, and Slim just rode outta town.

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