Friday, 7 August 2009

There's A Good Reason For These People To Be 'NIMBY's...

They live on an exclusive country estate, and enjoy the use of a sumptuous multi-million pound spa.

So when it came to sharing it with the locals, residents of Lower Mill Estate were quick to draw the battle lines.
And can you blame them...?
Homeowners in the millionaire's playground in the heart of the Cotswolds are incensed by a plan to open up ArtSpa, their £6.5 million private health club to paying outsiders.

The plan which would increase membership by up to 2,000 people is backed by the owner of the private estate who has run roughshod over the neighbours' objections branding them 'selfish Nimbys'.
So, let's see. This chap builds an exclusive estate, charges an arm and a leg for privacy, etc, and then decides to turn around and change the character of the estate, basically sticking two fingers up to the people who paid through the nose for it?

If this was an episode of 'Midsommer Murders' he'd have already been found floating face down in his own spa pool...
One resident said: 'It is like trespassing in your garden. The whole point of a gated community is that people can live in them without being disturbed by other people and they pay a high price for that privacy.

'This would allow the local community entry, which is totally against the original concept of the estate.'
You pay for exclusivity, you get exclusivity. Surely they'd have a claim against the owner for misrepresentation?
...the estate owner Jeremy Paxton has vowed to go ahead with his planning application to alter the gym's licence and blasted the residents for their 'not in my backyard' mentality.

'The residents' motivation is to not to share and my motivation is to make Lower Mill Estate integrate with the local community', he said.
So, when did Paxton decide that 'building a private, exclusive gated estate' was synonymous with 'integration with the local community'?

When he saw he could get even more money if he increased the membership of the spa, perhaps?

Yet he has the nerve to call the residents selfish! Still, he has the Righteous patter down and obviously hopes that will sway the council...
Mr Paxton asked Cotswold District Council to alter the planning permission on the spa built in 2003 to allow up to 2,130 new memberships.

Initially it was only open to those who bought homes on the estate, currently making up 1,320 members who pay up to £2,000 a year in service charges for its upkeep.
I'd like to see the homeowners get together and sue the pants off this greedy moron for misdescribing the nature of the estate. I suspect in the US, lawyers would be salivating outside the gates already..


woman on a raft said...

No, it's probably not money which is the motivation here. Paxton has been consistently successful, and for once it has been anchored against identifiable assets - although I wouldn't rule out debt until I'd seen the books. If there is a debt problem (and I doubt it) it won't be the kind solved by 2,000 gym memberships.

Paxton has been at pains to try to establish green credentials, although it has been patchy. Releasing beavers in to the estate sounds environmentalist - although some people argued there is a countering argument in that they re-sculpt the water system - but zooming about in a helicopter is not. It's very much Centre Parcs written huge, but it's stil the Marie Antoinette game of playing at being a peasant, dahlink. Not all the properties are residential; the early phases were more liesure lodges - a common enough form of development, whether it is a caravan at Maldon, a log cabin at Kellings Heath or Paxton's own top-of-the-bloody-range holiday bolt hole.

If he's allowing in the hoi poloi, it's for reasons of positioning.

With Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate just five miles up the road, you’d have expected the green welly brigade to be up in arms at such untraditional fare, but Paxton has had unanimous support from the planners, he says.

The people getting the membership are not going to be what you might call deprived estate dwellers. I don't know if there are any of those in the Cotswolds but they probably have some genuine peasants and hermits to add interest.

The people coming in will be respectable middle classes with their Telegraph special offers and copies of the Guardian (they read the Telegraph but pretend to like the Guardian) and are residents of Poundbury. And that means pleasing Prince Charles.

What this bloke is looking for is gongs but has not realized the quickest way is to either buy one or become a foaming idiot in the manner of Bea Campbell. He's not done nearly enough real damage (yet) to get a mention in the New Year's Honours.

James Higham said...

That's an interesting thread - the idea of the right to be exclusive. Should a club be able to maintain exclusion?

JuliaM said...

"If he's allowing in the hoi poloi, it's for reasons of positioning. "

If he gets embroiled in a lawsuit for misrepresentation, that might trim his sails a little...

"The people getting the membership are not going to be what you might call deprived estate dwellers. "

No, I didn't think they were, but, to the existing inhabitants, they might as well be. They paid for exclusivity, and I suspect they WANT exclusivity!

"What this bloke is looking for is gongs but has not realized the quickest way is to either buy one or become a foaming idiot in the manner of Bea Campbell."

Sadly, I suspect that's all too true...

JuliaM said...

"Should a club be able to maintain exclusion?"

I don't see why not - that's a club's USP, after all: 'Join us - we'll keep the others out'

Kensington and chelsea said...

Maybe he could cut the prices for the others.

Simon said...

You'd think these people would have been bright enough to make sure they had an agreement in place which guaranteed exclusivity when they bought their houses in this ghetto for the rich. If they were naive enough not to then it's their own fault.

Mike said...

Bit of a storm in a teacup isn't it? I've got a mate who lives on the estate and isn't worried one way or another.

It's not like Paxton's planning on opening the doors to the great unwashed (unless the great unwashed have £2.5K a year to throw around on spa memberships), and it's not like these mythical £2.5K pa spa-using Jeremy-Kyle watching chavs are going to be running rampant on the exclusive estate because they won't have any access to it anyway - it's all separately gated.

So what's the big deal, unless of course you're so insular that when you go to your Gloucester vacation home you're not prepared to talk to anyone unless they have a Gloucester vacation home as well?

Why oh why (as they say in all the best Radio 4 programmes) can't people accept that change happens? That it's been going on in the built environment since time immemorial, and always will. It can't be any other way. Set against (say) the imposition of Milton Keynes on a massive swathe of rural land, whether or not you admit a few extra people to a spa ... well, get a sense of proportion, why don't you?

Anonymous said...

I live on the estate. A couple of months ago Jeremy said he would let us vote on whether to get more members in the spa. This would in turn lower our service charge which is now nearly £5,000 a year. He then went behind our backs and applied to turn the spa into a country club. He lied pure and simple.