Here in Windsor Road, London N3, we are getting an early taste of what Cameron’s Britain is going to look like.
Here, in the heart of Finchley, where a last minute smear campaign helped secure the seat for Conservative MP Mike Freer on May 7, some of my neighbours have rushed to embrace the spirit of the times, which they hope will allow them to use their homes like ATM machines.
The curse of basements has moved out from the billionaires’ regions in central London. My friend Dennis Pepper, who has done more than anyone to improve the quality of life round here, gets his thanks from his neighbours: they are excavating basements both sides of him, and he will be living in the middle of a building site, and his house will shake with their profitable work, and his quality of life will never be the same.
My own neighbour, whose building work has blighted our lives for months, now wants to extend in the only direction left to him, which will overshadow and destroy my terrace, where I like to sit in the summer and drink a glass of white wine and dream of a better world. He is not building for his own use – only he and his wife live there, and they have far more space than they need. He is building for profit. “There’s no planning grounds you can use to stop it” he told me smugly. We’ll see. In Cameron’s Britain, he might be right.