This Fox has a longing for grapes,
He jumps, but the bunch still escapes.
So he goes away sour;
And, ’tis said, to this hour
Declares that he’s no taste for grapes.
It all started out innocently enough. My social media feed literally exploded with outrage with the PA’s controversial decision to give the go ahead to the monstrous DB project in Pembroke. Prices for the ultra-luxury apartments were being bandied about, with some claiming that property prices in the same project, ran into double digit millions.
In my humble view, it was as contentious a decision as many more before it. That said, I cannot recall any similar outcry, when those of us living in the then untainted hamlet of Xghajra were lumbered with the Smart City monstrosity or the Wasteserv plant right on the edge of the village, which to this day produces a suffocating stink on an almost nightly basis. Then again, at the time, the village of Xghajra was populated by only a couple of thousand people, including children and under-18s, so our voice could not create the necessary cacophony to be truly heard. Or perhaps this being the south, we have been lumped with too many nasty projects for generations on end, so we take the crap that’s dished out in our stride and just get on with it. But I digress…
The pouring of indignation for the approval of the DB project, came in hard and fast on every available social media platform and rightly so. But somehow, as is wont, discussions took on an entirely sinister form. Soon people were accusing anyone and everyone of egotism and greed. These accusations were not just directed at the DB group, the PA, construction magnates or real estate developers. No! One woman who claimed she lived in a flat, without realising just how ironic this sounds, complained that there were three construction sites on her street and proceeded to vociferously complain about the inconvenience of it all (she definitely wasn’t the only one to air her views). Because you know, once upon a time not too long ago this lady’s apartment, simply morphed out of thin air, and no construction or inconvenience to the neighbours was involved. But sure, now that I’m alright, f*** you Jack!
Then, to add to this churning cauldron of wrath, in come the chest thumping faction who pour scorn on anyone who has or had the temerity to sell up their residence for a profit; the soulless culprits, the traitors who are aiding and abetting the ever-expanding concrete jungle. They are contributing to the never-ending construction sites on every street of the nation. How dare they? Presently, my village is dotted with construction sites. Not a day goes by, when the peace and quiet is not shattered by the growling sound of heavy machinery or the debilitating din of excavating works. A few years ago, my home was also a construction site and I believe it would be sheer hypocrisy if I constantly complained about a situation, which I myself contributed to, albeit in the distant past.
It is either sheer hypocrisy or a rabid case of sour grapes by those who point fingers at the neighbour next door or across the road who sells up and destroys the pretty (?) aesthetic of the neighbourhood. I wonder how many of those who are taking the moral high ground on this admittedly not so ideal situation, could honestly, hand on heart, claim that they would never profit from a property in a bid to not disturb the neighbourhood or to not contribute to the rampant, unchecked development that has taken over our country. What if your home, which you bought for a relative ‘pittance’ thirty years ago is your only asset? What if you’re struggling financially and your home is your sole source of ‘wealth’? Wouldn’t it be tempting in the current climate, where property prices are simply exploding, to make enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your days? I just wonder how many altruistic souls would simply walk away from what would be a life-changing opportunity…
In a mere 316 square kilometres of land, which must accommodate a population of almost half a million, with all the complex issues that that entails, I would think that neighbours selling up and the sprouting of construction sites would be the least of our worries. Of course, virgin land and village cores should remain untouchable at all costs. This I believe should be non-negotiable, but what is so abhorrent in pulling down buildings with no aesthetic value and rebuilding into apartments (albeit with even less aesthetic value – but that is something that can easily be amended)?
The demand is there, because no sane developer would invest big money into something which will not sell, so why the huffing and puffing? I could be wrong, but oftentimes this virtue-signalling sounds more like a case of sour grapes by those who have no property to peddle. Then there are those who are financially secure to the extent that they can afford to sit on their assets including property. Of course, you can afford to be an eco-warrior, protest against every single development on the island, safe in the knowledge that unlike the rest of the population you can afford to preserve the grand home you inherited from your papa and his papa before him. That said, I have yet to see a property owner protesting at the unprecedented development on the island…
But as the saying goes, ‘nostalgia is a seductive liar’, so perhaps before we all start hankering for the good old days when most of us lived in idyllic, picture perfect villages, with neighbours who wouldn’t dream of usurping the status quo, let’s all take a step back and delve into our conscience. Let’s ask ourselves, just what exactly would we do if we had to be standing in the shoes of someone who has, for example just discovered they have inherited a piece of developable property? In all honesty, what would you do?