I live in the Rose of the Shires, buried deep within the Rockingham Forest, and presumably, from time to time, a little girl in a red hooded riding cape can be expected to knock on my door. Why is it that in this day and age we still have a need conjure-up images of an exclusive ‘Ye-Olde’ rustic heritage to give our lives that middle class superior feel? Yet so many people choose to live on new developments that have names which resemble those of American cemeteries. Of course, the builders and planners are responsible for the naming of such estates which simply panders to a need for some kind of superior living. So much so I’m surprised that they haven’t started throwing in the white picket fence along with the odd rose bush around the door. How long will it be do you suppose before we see new villages being born with thatched roofing atop limited life breeze-block monstrosities? The simple fact is that history and the thought of being part of said history comes at a price. Our ‘snobbery’ simply panders to image, boosting the price of housing for that all exclusive address. Oh, what it must be to live in an ‘executive’ house, on that executive street on the Forest Glade estate! It seems to me that our modern living landscape resembles my lawn: take away the weeds and there wouldn’t be a lawn. All of the forests have gone. There are very few glades to speak of, and the field of beans on which the Beanfield estate in Corby stands has long since given up on its last crop. It’s plainly true that some properties are better or bigger than others so why do we feel a need to increase our need for exclusivity by using ridiculous names to enhance our address? Having spent time being shown round a maximum security prison I had to wonder why some people choose to live in secure ‘gated’ housing developments: the latter simply emulating the former. We are constantly being told that the threat of crime is greater than actual crime, yet, somehow, like the guy selling house alarms, we believe it. When was the last time you called the police because an irritating house or car alarm was going off? To emulate genuine heritage we should be building homes made from materials that would ensure longevity: stone, heavy timbers and the like. But we don’t. Instead we use building materials which have the appearance of ‘Lego’ transience because we have to. It makes economic sense.. That being the case houses are relatively inexpensive to build and their retail price must therefore be boosted in some way, and that’s where image comes into play. You and I have fallen for the oldest trick in town and it comes at a price.