Kimberley Town Council has not yet formulated a collective response to future housing needs in this area so, although I am the vice-chairman, these views are my own.
I wasn’t born in Kimberley but have lived in the town since 1978 and am in my second spell as an elected representative. My wife’s family have been around here since at least 1841. We are locals who would oppose, just as strongly as the Residents Association, overwhelming development or large scale, indiscriminate incursions into our Green Belt.
However, we must be realistic in recognising that some development is inevitable and, given the shortage of affordable homes, especially for the young, desirable.
Planning decisions cannot be predicated purely on responses to the question ‘do you want any more houses in your town/village?’, because most people will reject the idea. Planning has to be long term, regional and strategic. Local opinion is certainly an important consideration and the town council has already organised one meeting for citizens to express their concerns, but Kimberley does not exist in a protected vacuum or time warp.
Neither a town’s ancient history nor antipathy to outsiders are viable planning criteria.
We cannot ignore the broader picture and to turn our backs on macro-planning would be highly dangerous.
A core strategy developed alongside and in consultation with other boroughs is clearly the best way to prevent uncontrolled house building. Such collaboration is not a blueprint for resisting all new housing schemes but it does allow local authorities to be part of the process, to be at the table when decisions are taken.
Now is the time for the people of Kimberley to become involved, not by rejecting development per se but by giving rational consideration to where new home should be sited.