You could say that I already live in a 15 minute community.
I am very fortunate to live in a village that, over many generations, has grown organically to be a community, where an awful lot of what I need is right on my doorstep – within a 10 to 15 minute walk.
We have a High Street where I can get groceries. There’s a butcher’s, a bakery, a deli, a greengrocers and a couple of little gift shops. We have a couple of restaurants, takeaways and a few pubs. There are two charity shops and a little independent ladieswear shop and we have a couple of hairdressing salons and a barbers in the high street.
We have a Doctors surgery and two churches with halls where people can meet or hire for their own events. We also have a few other businesses operating in the village as well as a little post office and a veterinary surgeons clinic.
We have playing fields where the kids play football and cricket and a little playground for the younger children. On the site there’s a community hall where people hold events and in the last couple of years we’ve been there to celebrate the New Year with friends and neighbours.
My daughter went to nursery and school until she was 16 within a five minute walk of our house and a lot of our friends live in the village too.
There are various groups in the village, depending on what your interest is. There’s a group planting the verges for bees, there’s a very active U3A and a rotary club, an amateur drama club a horticultural society and we have a village Facebook page/group. I love that I’m greeted by name in a number of places in the village!
I think you get the idea!
The thing is, I can leave whenever I want to. If a friend or family member needs me (which did happen recently), I can jump in the car and go to them without fearing that I’ve used up my quota for travelling out of the area and hence being fined! I can go out to meet clients when necessary and pop out, for something I can’t get locally, without fear of reprisals or of not being able to afford the charge per mile (see consultations about this for London – and if it comes to London, you can be sure it will extend out across the country).
As humans, we have evolved to value connection to others very much – we want to belong – whether to our community, football club or other form of “tribe”. In order to enjoy living in a close knit community, we are going to need to significantly improve all facilities in every locality; from public transport to shops, community and outdoor spaces and unfortunately, this is just not happening. Independent shops are closing on a daily basis, High Streets are quiet and public transport leaves an awful lot to be desired. The Government wants you to stay put but without the things around you that you will need in order to really be happy in your “village”. Even if the things you want were there for you, you shouldn’t be dictated to – the Government work for us, not the other way around!
I like living in my community, which you could call a 15 minute city village – but please don’t tell me I can’t leave. The Government shouldn’t be dictating to me or anyone else about free movement. Especially as you can be damned sure, that the rules won’t apply to them and their wealthy friends!
This creeping dictatorship is why I gave up my Saturday to go to Oxford to protest against this plan. But you won’t see anything about the 1000s of people there on mainstream media because they don’t want you to know you’re not alone!