The death knell of community living?
The economic benefits they bring are undeniable but what is equally undeniable is the fact that they are never a part of the community in which they live and seem to have little concept of what it is to be a neighbour. The large student population in this part of Leamington has had exactly the same effect as that experienced in small ‘desirable’ towns and villages up and down the land that have been taken over by absentee second-home owners and by holiday lets. A largely transient population sounds the death knell of community living.
I too live in an area with a large student population and when I first moved here a few years ago I knocked on the doors either side of my terraced house just to say ‘hello’ and to introduce myself as the person from next door.
The elderly and very frail lady who opened the door next to mine said how very pleased she was to meet me and what a novelty it was to have a neighbour. The gaggle of university students on the other side looked at me as though I were a child molester and they have never spoken to me since. The old lady died recently having lived in the same house for 56 years. She ended her days not knowing or indeed seeing anyone else in the street apart from me.
It used to be the case that neighbourliness was the glue that bound us together in community and that, alas, seems to be something that has largely disappeared, never to return. God forbid that David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and unnumbered ‘virtual friends’ on Facebook are all we have to look forward to in the 21st century. - Alan Griffin, Leam Street Leamington.