Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Childfree UK Village

'There comes a time when you want to live without children'
To buy a property in the village, you have to be 45-plus with no dependent family in tow, and you must sign a contract agreeing not to sell property on to those with children.
Residents include childfree people, but also include parents and grandparents whose children may visit (for up to three weeks at a time). Their reasons vary, from not wanting to listen to people talk endlessly about children to beliefs that it recreates a time past when people were simply more polite to each other.
"Everywhere you go today you are expected to pander to the needs of children," one home-owner, who has asked not to be named, tells me. "They are noisy, messy and destructive, but try and complain to the parents, and nine times out of 10 you will make yourself an enemy," she says. "I have to put up with badly behaved children in restaurants and parks. I want my neighbourhood to be free of that."

There have been legal challenges to child-free communities in the US. In 1977, a couple was forced out of their Florida condominium after having a baby. The unsuccessful age discrimination suit went as far as the supreme court. There have been other successful cases since then, but none that conclude that living without children should be seen as discrimination. In the UK there are those who believe no one has the right to exclude children from any neighbourhood.

Carolyn Hamilton, the director of the Children's Legal Centre, is adamant that such communities should be challengeable under the Human Rights Act. "If nothing else, it perpetuates the stereotype of children as nuisances and criminals."
Yes, and policies precluding pets reinforce the "stereotype" that dogs bark and pee outside.
I am invited in for tea with Marie and David, who have lived in the village for two years. They came from Merseyside to be near "like-minded people", in a community where "children are not seen as the centre of the universe".

"Children and noise go together," says David. "It is heaven sitting out with a glass of wine, not hearing kids screaming and banging the fence with footballs. And there is no litter, because it tends to be kids who drop it."
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, can I move there?!