The older generation grew up in an era when mouse traps were an every day piece of household equipment. Mice were a pest and the top cat was the best “mouser”. It is little wonder that people get grumpy about change when it appears that in spite of these times of austerity, mice now have rights too.
A recent planning permission for a housing development in Somerset required the developer, Taylor Woodrow, to set aside £500,000 to build a “special bridge” for the safe passage of doormice. As Tom from Disney’s cartoon used to say “I hate them mices to pieces!”
In my many years of building retirement housing, I have experienced significant delays to projects required by planning authorities, who seem to have little regard for cost. Here are some examples – a colony of swifts were given time to nest and delayed a £30m project at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds in increased construction costs; lucky newts were humanely caught and moved to a new habitat whilst elderly people waited another 12 months before their new homes could be built; and finally bats were searched for in vain and never found but at least the environmental consultants racked up significant fees. I am in favour of protection of wildlife but isn’t this all being taken too far. Has common sense gone out of the window.
Have we gone completely mad – don’t you think that the money wasted in delays could have built many more social houses for people in need?