I am the least green person I know – although I do go to London on the train and sometimes get out on my bike. But there ends my light touch on the planet.
A few months ago I was in a place called Biddulph. If you get the chance to go there, don’t. Wash your hair instead. It’s the sort of place NASA could use for training – you know – no atmosphere. It’s also difficult to get to. Especially from Nottingham.
I valued some property there. It wasn’t one of my high-value jobs. And I had a look around the place. I came across a Sainsbury’s superstore. It was green. Very green – solar panels, rainwater harvesting, high insulation and generally those things we do in buildings to lower the carbon footprint. All good stuff and the feel-good factor was high. There were even posters to tell me how good I should feel.
But here’s the thing – they’re not really sustainable are they? The only thing they sustain are their profits.
As I have wandered around various places over the last few weeks it is plain to see that we have lots of vacant shops. Too many.
But they did have a use once upon a time – as shops. They haven’t always been vacant. And despite Mary Portas not wanting to apportion blame – the blame almost certainly lies at the door of the supermarkets. These monster (green) stores are built and they are like death stars – they suck the lifeblood out of everything around. Although Tesco have now announced an end to their big box concept the damage has been done.
It is not sustainable to build a supermarket which then shuts down all the local shops around it.
One of the biggest issues we face in reducing carbon footprint is the existing building stock. And buildings which are vacant will not attract the investment required to get them to standard needed…It’s a double whammy!