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25 February, 2007

Don't be a developer

A couple of (relatively) local news items have revealed a public tendency to jump to negative conclusions.

  • Renovation of the art-deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe is taking longer than planned, so the opening date has been postponed. Because of a desire to open at the key part of the season, I believe the delay will be a year.
    The official reason is that Urban Splash want to do the job properly/authentically, but the real reason is obviously that they're stalling and want to turn the hotel into apartments with an associated retail development. Obviously – uninformed speculation in the local free paper's letters page proves it.
  • As I've already mentioned, Bruntwood, the owners of Afflecks Palace, Manchester have failed to commit to keeping the building open in its present form, though they have tried to speak to the operating company/committee.
    Obviously that means the independent retailers are to be kicked out in favour of national chains or the building is to be redeveloped as luxury apartments. That might even be true, but why presume a failure to communicate proves a certain intention without the slightest supporting evidence?
If we dismiss the implied class envy for a moment (I'm indirectly 'related' to a Manchester-based property developer, and it's not solely about prestige apartments, retail complexes and chasing affluent clients at the expense of communities), why do people automatically draw fixed and invariably negative conclusions? Is it media-conditioning and the 'need' to fit a situation into a tidy, simplistic narrative supporting people's pessimistic world-view?

One needs to accept that there mightn't be a neat story, and that x mightn't automatically mean y. This mindset somehow seems related to religiousness: a desire to find meaning in chaos.

It's a loaded statement, but might atheism lead to greater rationality in other areas? If one has understood that there's no divine narrator, and s*** just happens irrespective of some mythical overarching plan, one might be more willing to believe that x means x, and y is an entirely different issue, to be addressed separately.

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