Published: 13th Jun 2013

I’ve been running some focus groups with rural parish councils. The plan was to get a sense of attitudes to local development. Specifically, I’ve been trying to understand why those social housing ‘exception site’ developments can be so controversial. The reality so far has been that news of my visits has leaked. My hoped for informal conversations with locally elected councillors have all been gate-crashed by people opposed to development of any kind. I can tell you it’s quite difficult to listen to 12 people all of whom choose to speak at the same time! But what I’ve spotted on more than one occasion is that the most dogmatic opponent of development is usually a lady wearing a green quilted jacket. If you live or work in the countryside you’ll have met them. They are usually well educated, articulate dog owning Volvo drivers. They are ladies I always assume can … (To read the full article, subscribe below)