You know how, when you've been away from home, you notice things to which you've previously been oblivious? Well yesterday I took Lily for theraputic stroll around the village (see my previous post Lovely Lily to find out who and why) and noticed some pretty obscure signs. I know what they are all about, obviously, but anyone visiting the village could be forgiven for thinking they had wandered into a gentler, very English, version of Deliverance.
Signs in windows and on lamp posts around Loose send out messages like 'LEE VE LOOSE ALONE', 'BEWARE! ANTLERS LOOSE', 'DON'T LOSE LOOSE VALLEY VIEWS' and 'LEE HURST LOOSE'
Of course, this is all completely incomprehensible without knowing the background to this very English protest. Let me enlighten you.
Lee Hurst is a comedian. This is not a comment on his personality or the way he conducts his life. He does, in fact, earn his living as an alternative, right-on, slightly leftish, politically correct comedian. So it may come as a bit of a surprise to discover that he is also a property speculator, buying up properties and allowing them to fall into disrepair so that he can cash in on the current, mad, greed-inspired rush to turn most of south-eastern England into a housing estate.
Some years ago, there was an OKish bungalow in the village which came onto the market. Attached to it was a very productive apple orchard and a large garden. Enter Mr. Hurst. He bought it. Much excitement ensued. We were going to have a 'celebrity' living amonst us. Except he never did. The property deteriorated, as did the negelcted orchard and garden. Trees were felled without permission (this is a conservation area) and it gradually turned from an attractive home and small fruit smallholding into something of an eyesore.
Enter Antler Homes http://www.antlerhomes.co.uk/content/home/splash.asp, who are keen to buy the lot from our comedian and build on this now 'brown field' site. They are proposing to build six new 'executive homes' but come on, who ever heard of a property developer building just six houses on a nine acre site?
The village protested (http://www.kentnews.co.uk/kent-news/Comic-Lee-Hurst-isn_t-funny-say-villagers-newsinkent13453.aspx?news=local) and http://www.kentmessenger.co.uk/news/default.asp?article_id=43363&newspage=1. We turned out and protested, almost to a man, but will it be enough? Or will greed and shortsightedness prevail? Something has to be done to stop good, fertile, food producing land falling prey to landgrabbing comedians.