Anti-NIMBYism?

Those of you with long memories, and a deep held fascination with ugly concrete buildings, may remember the grippingly exciting story of Preston Bus Station, the one that looks like this;

That someone even thought about listing this makes me weep. And then hope in all these budget cuts that most of them have been sacked. Alas I fear such cockroaches tend to survive.

With the monstrosity finally declared ‘Not listed’ (hopefully due to the fact that someone on the panel had a working set of eyes) the structure was promptly marked for demolition as part of a large shopping centre scheme by Lend Lease, the people who gifted the world Bluewater and so on. After a great deal of faffing about that took most of the year (the original application went in back in 2008, which prompted all those efforts to get the concrete horror bus station listed in the first place) the planning inspector finally produced a tome which said ‘It’ll all be fine, apart from local traffic in Preston which may go up a bit.’

This was a bitter disappointment to Blackburn with Darwen Council, who had claimed because of all the shoppers going to Preston there would be social unrest, extremism, death and terrorism and said as such to the planning inspector. Sadly I’m only making up the last two, the local council genuinely said that shoppers going to Preston not Blackburn would cause unrest and extremism. In case you couldn’t guess the Blackburn and Darwen council leader at the time was Labour. I know, I was shocked too, a Labour politician using an unconvincing threat of terrorism to justify their own agenda? Whatever next?

However back to the point, as planning law says government shouldn’t approve a scheme that increases traffic in town centres the scheme should have been cancelled by Eric Pickles, he however didn’t. Perhaps he thought £700 million of investment in a historically depressed region during a recession was worth some traffic, or perhaps he just wants the people of Preston to choke on exhaust fumes, who knows? Either way it had happened and Blackburn council, complete with new Conservative leader,  said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ to appeal and piss yet more money up the wall for no good reason.

However to the great surprise of no-one, least of all anyone who’s lived in the UK for the last decade or so, the politicians have proven to be untrustworthy bastards. Yes Blackburn council will be appealing against Eric Pickles decision on the grounds of the traffic impact on Preston (well after the inspector called Labour’s claims about lack of shopping causing terrorism ‘tenuous’ the Blackburn Conservatives had to find something else to whine about). That Preston council is happy with the traffic impact is, surprisingly, irrelevant.

Thus I commend this to you as an example of anti-NIMBYism, or IIMBYism as it may soon be called, the complaint from Blackburn basically being that the shopping centre Isn’t In My Back Yard.

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One Response to “Anti-NIMBYism?”

  1. […] I discovered the Observer’s architect critic has joined the chorus demanding the horror of Preston Bus Station be saved. The main argument appears to be that it ” it embodies the spirit of its 1960s […]

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