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There goes the neighbourhood!
I’ve turned into a NIMBY (for those not familiar with the acronym it means Not In My BackYard). It’s a negative term applied to those not happy with disruptions or changes in their immediate environs. I never thought I’d become a Nimby. I try hard to remember to live and let live - having lived in big cities for most of my life this gets you by.
But I currently live in a tiny mews with my small young family, with only twelve or so other houses surrounding me I know all of my neighbours and they know us. We felt safe and secure and enjoyed our homes and surroundings. Until recently. One of the properties has been sold and turned into a short term let, or a ‘party house’. The impact on us has been immediate and upsetting.
This isn’t a post complaining about noise, I don’t mind noise, I quite like it usually. We live quite close to a music venue and I enjoy hearing the bands and music and laughter until late into the night, I sometimes open my windows to hear it.
And this isn’t a post complaining about people enjoying themselves or having a party. If I walk past my neighbours having a bit of a do or I see guests arriving for the weekend I smile, I love knowing that life continues happily around me.
This is about feeling unsafe, uncertain and uncomfortable in your own home. A home my family and I have worked hard to pay for and want to enjoy and feel secure in. The open house that stands opposite ours is not a home to anyone, it is a venue for strangers to come and go with no vested interest in keeping our tiny street clean, quiet or safe. Strangers we will not have time to build up a relationship with or come to arrangements with, and with whom we won’t be able to engage in the normal barter and banter and compromise that takes place between long term neighbours over noise, litter, boundaries, parking etc.
Recently we have had to endure large intimidating groups standing around outside our front doors smoking and drinking all day long, singing, music and shouting late into the night. And then there's untidy washing lines strung up outside the house, pushchairs and suitcases blocking access to cars and even insults to residents.
When you’re on vacation some may consider this to be reasonable behaviour and of course those who have paid to stay want to be able to conduct themselves in whatever manner they choose – they are on their holidays! But for those of us who live here, we are not on holiday. Some of us work from home, some of us are elderly and housebound, some of us have young children and pets to protect. None of us take kindly to being made to feel uncomfortable in our own homes by transient tenants.
Every week now we are going to be bracing ourselves for our next lot of new ‘neighbours’, wondering what we can expect. Scared to make complaints for fear of reprisals (remember these people know where we live, they have seen our cars, our homes, our pets and our children). It’s no way to live is it?
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