Humans and Choices, the Betteshanger Colliery Site

Last week I wrote about the undeniable encroachment of new builds on our countryside and spilled a few of my thoughts worries and concerns upon the world. 

Sometimes it’s easy to judge what mankind does and understand it.  There are always reasons for and against, and sometimes we agree with these changes and sometimes we don’t. However, often it’s not the right or wrong of a change that’s the issue it’s the change in itself.

How often have you said, ‘well, it’s always been like that’, or, that’s just the way I do it’, or even, ‘well I’m too old to change now’ ? Be honest, lots, I suspect.  I hope I’m not as guilty of it as I was, but it does, occasionally, still happen.

Even when we decide that change is OK, often that change doesn’t last that long.  Snap back kicks in and our change becomes short lived.

That has to mean that there are two types of change we have to navigate.  Personal change and environmental change. Maybe one suffers from snapback and the other just fade.

Let me explain.  Personal change will only happen if we really want it.  I’ve written a lot on stopping the habits we have that we like to think help, but don’t, such as alcohol and tobacco.  They are relatively easy to stop doing if you really want to, the problem is that most people who attempt to make the change don’t really want to, even if that change could be life changing, they just know they should. That’s why often they fail.

Snapback, we start, but when it gets hard, we snapback.

Often environmental change is very emotionally based, and usually with a huge dose of sentimentality.  The change that is acceptable often changes with age too.

When I was younger, I was often aghast at the style of extensions on historical buildings.  I very strongly felt that the extension should be totally in keeping with the rest of the building. Nowadays I love the contrasting styles and look to enjoy the way the modern and the period fit together.  After all, most historic buildings are already a mishmash of different periods anyway, it’s just that the materials used these days are very different to those in the past. All eras should be celebrated.

Is that wisdom, education or age?

Mankind has always built dwellings and community buildings.  We have always cleared spaces in the countryside to make room for them too.

Somehow though, the buildings from the past seem to blend in with the land much better, whether it’s a stone age hut, Native American Tepee, Tudor Manor house, they all seem to fit the landscape more sympathetically.  They blend in.  Even Victorian townhouses blend in. Modern buildings are a little more sympathetically to the countryside they inhabit now, but for a while, as the King said, they were ‘carbuncles’ on the face of the land.  So that rankles, but generally after a damn good moan, we forget about them.  They FADE.

We complain about the speed that the newbuilds are going up, and the amount of them.  There are seven or eight construction sites that I can think about quickly without effort. Our countryside is vanishing at an alarming rate.  However, generally after a damn good moan, we forget about them.  They FADE.

Even when the builders take on a potentially vital piece of wildlife habitat that houses many rare and or endangered species.  We generally have a damn good moan and we forget about them.  They FADE.

That’s what I did last week, I got terribly upset about the proposed buildings at the old Betteshanger Colliery Site.  Especially as I thought it was too late and the bulldozers were imminent. 

BUT THEY ARE NOT. This must not FADE.  We cannot exist properly as fully functioning human beings if we have no connection with our natural world. If we cannot put our feet on the grass

We can still object, but we have to be quick.  The Portal on Dover District Councils website is open until the 17th February.

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