UK turns away from 'not in my back yard' thinking

10 April 2018

Posted in Product

by Rebecca D'Cunha (see media contact)

  • Two thirds think Brits are still guilty of ‘not in my back yard’, or ‘NIMBY’, thinking.
  • A third understands that new developments need to be built where they live in order to keep up with demand.
  • 37 per cent feel that there is not enough social housing in their local area, compared to just 20 per cent who think there is a lack of private housing.

The UK is often accused of having a ‘not in my back yard’ mentality, with research1 by AXA showing that two thirds of respondents believe people are guilty of the ‘NIMBY’ effect. However, further investigation revealed that  almost a third also understand that new developments have to happen where they live in order to keep up with demand.

As the debate surrounding UK housing continues, AXA Insurance has investigated public opinion regarding new developments being built in their areas. Seventy per cent said they noticed the population had increased where they live over the past five years, with a quarter saying it had increased considerably.

However, despite what is often reported in the media, this increase in population size hasn’t led to an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. This could be down to the fact that social inequality is perceived to have risen: 45 per cent believe they can see signs of social inequality where they live, including higher levels of crime in certain areas, issues surrounding unemployment, the availability of local services and so on.

The desire to fix this inequality is reflected in the research, with significantly more respondents saying there is not enough social housing in their local area (37 per cent) compared to private housing (20 per cent). What’s more, 40 per cent said they would be happy to have social housing built within one mile of their homes, even though 40 per cent also said they think this would have a detrimental effect on their property values.

Baby boomers – who are more likely to own private property than other generations – are significantly more concerned about social housing than any other age range. Forty-two per cent of over 55’s believe there is not enough social housing in their area, compared to just 32 per cent of 18-24 year olds.

The area where respondents felt there could be improvements is communication between them and their local authorities. Less than one in ten (7 per cent) said they feel their opinions are taken on-board when it comes to local government plans to develop new housing, while a third stated the government isn’t building the right things where they live, such as hospitals, transport and housing.

“There is no shying away from the fact that Britain is struggling to keep up with demand for both private and social housing, so it’s encouraging to see how positive the public are about new developments being built in their areas. ‘Not in my back yard’ thinking is becoming a thing of the past, with people understanding that we need to look after one another in order to reduce social inequality and promote a better standard of living for all.”

Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Insurance

1Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 3000 UK adults. The research was carried out by OnePoll in February-March 2018.