Following the concerns I expressed about some aspects of localism last week, an example cropped up near to where I live. North-East Fife, where I live, is a tourist area, but when I was looking for adapted facilities for a family member with severe mobility problems, there wasn’t anywhere – too many hotels are in old, inaccessible buildings. I eventually got something in a modern hotel several miles away. This weekend, it was reported that a local farmer had finally got permission to build specialist holiday accommodation for people with disabilities, after four years of trying. The local Community Council objected at first that a two storey building would dominate the view (you can see the monstrous edifice that was rejected in an early report here; it looks almost like a house, heaven forfend). Then they objected that there would be too much traffic; then that the entrance wouldn’t be clearly signposted, and so on. I accept that the development as approved is prettier than the first proposal – but should it have taken four years?
It’s difficult to tell what part reactions to disability played in this. It may look superficially like an example of discrimination, but I suspect that, without the representations from organisations concerned with disability, the development might not have been approved at all. Most of rural Scotland doesn’t have many NIMBYs, because there are too few people ever to get near to someone’s back yard, but we do have bananas, which stands for ‘building absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone’.