Hot topic in the village this month is the now looming prospect of 350 homes and a traveller site parked on our back lawn. We are lucky in having someone with the eagle eye of a lawyer in Michael Nidd to fight our corner. PERA’s secretary has gone to great lengths to challenge the legitimacy of the proposal to build on Marchmont Fields. How can Dacorum allow such a development on beautiful Green Belt land? How can it go ahead when, says Michael, it conflicts with stated Government policy? The answer, it seems, is that if you move the goal posts far enough, it’s a game changer. What was thought to be Green Belt has become, by sleight of hand, development land. What was thought to be Government policy turns out not be Government policy after all. And so, unless the David of Piccotts End can defeat the Goliath of Government housing diktats those 350 houses seem likely to happen sooner rather than later. There has been talk of a petition and all residents have been given the opportunity to express their opinions. However the grim truth is that few outside Piccotts End are really bothered. Once upon a time there would have been a public outcry but today it seems as though we have all been beaten into submission. You only have to look at the dismal quality of the Letters page of the Gazette to see that people have given up complaining, campaigning, or even commenting. They know it is futile. Which is why Russell Brand, love him or loathe him, has a sort of point about the failure of democracy. Our voices are not being heard. If the Government tell Dacorum they must build so many thousand new homes it seems there is nothing we can do to stop it. This may sound defeatist but even Michael Nidd concedes that the outlook is ‘dire’.