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Cheers - AE

Friday, 22 May 2009

A small victory for property rights?

One of the things that pisses me off about, ooooh, almost everywhere in the western world is that there is so often a presumption that you can't do what you want with your land or what's on it in case someone else gets upset. This is listed, that's in a Heritage Area, the other doesn't fit in and the neighbours complained. What it comes down to is that other people want to exert rights over land they do not own, and that annoys me. Now it's one thing if development or land use changes have a negative effect the value of neighbouring properties, so if I was to put up a huge sign that read "Only twats buy houses in this neighbourhood" or change my house into a nightclub and play music till 4AM it'd be fair enough if people objected and had a means of stopping me from doing it. I would be buggering up the value of the largest investment any of them are ever going to make and that's not reasonable. But if I want to tear down the fence and hard landscape the front yard to create another parking space, or build onto the roof to create a terrace, or knock down a draughty old Fed era house that's barely more energy efficient than sleeping on a park bench and replace it with a well insulated modern house then why shouldn't I? But people, either neighbours or councils (i.e. local civil servants) complain about this sort of thing and interfere with what people want to do on their own land, even when the changes are minor. So when I read that a surgeon has moved a whole sand dune I think good on him. Better yet he's not the slightest bit repentant about it even though the neighbours and council big noses are getting bent out of shape.
Anne Heslop, of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: "We are looking into the implications of this action. There are protected species in the sandhills such as the very rare plant the Isle of Man Cabbage."
It's not how much has been lost but how much is left, and since the photo in the article shows that only the bit belonging to the property owner has been removed it's a reasonable assumption that unless the cabbage only grew on the 50 foot section that's now gone it'll be fine on the large sections of dune that remain. If it's where I think it is the dune, which appears to have been spilt in two in the past to make room for a pier and a car park, are a good mile and a half long between the northern and southern sections. A mile and a half. Fifty feet. I'd guess some cabbages will have survived.
Dr Newman, 65, a world-renowned vascular surgeon, said: "The only rare species I know are the inebriated and drug-affected adults who go onto the dunes and jump off them in what they call fun on a Saturday and Sunday night."
His home is one a few on the Promenade that owns a stretch of the sand dunes.
He added: "Obviously I can do what I like on my land although people may over the years have thought this all to be a public area."
That's your problem, Doc. The cabbages (the Isle of Man ones, not the two legged wasted variety you've see at the weekends) are really quite safe since the implication is that few of your neighbours would be able to bulldoze "their" bit of dune since it's not theirs at all, and it's a reasonable assumption that the rest is council owned or otherwise in public hands. The real issue is the commission of the cardinal sin of simply getting a dozer in and altering the plot of land you bought and paid for as you chose instead of prostrating yourself before the correct authorities and humbly begging their kind indulgence.
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