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‘Nimby’ has become a shallow insult, say Hampstead conservationists

Heath and Hampstead Society look up definition - and say Nimbyism doesn't apply to their planning objections

21 February, 2019 — By Richard Osley

ONE of the borough’s oldest amenity groups, which examines planning applications in Hamp­stead, has taken offence at being called “Nimbys” – with a warning that the term is now applied as a “shallow insult”.

The Heath and Hampstead Society is proud of its record defending the historic area – and its glorious views – from unsuitable developments.

But in the latest edition of its newsletter, it reports that “the Society has been accused of Nimbyism”.

David Castle, chair of its sub-com­mittee, says the criticism had led him to search for a definition.

“The following was the most precise that I found: Opposition by local citizens to the location of an unsightly, nox­ious, danger­ous, etc facility,” he writes, “because: a) they fear their property values may be reduc­ed, and b) do not care that the development is needed.”

He adds: “It all depends, therefore, on the motives of those objecting and on the reasons for the development. The Society never objects for reasons of a) or b) above. Our objectives are not to prevent development, but to ensure that it enhances the area or does not increase, for instance, pollution or traffic.”

Mr Castle said opposition to a new school at the former police station in Rosslyn Hill was based on traffic analysis and questions over its catchment area.

“None of this comes within the definition of Nimbyism,” he said. “The accusation Nimby has been reduced to an unfair and shallow insult applied to those who are objecting, by those who support, or see no faults in, the proposal.”


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