Wednesday, 4 March 2009


"Al, you have got to get out more"

We were at the local District Council planning meeting in a draughty village hall. The plans Ian, Matthew & I were objecting to were just ghastly and so we had decided to make sure they were rejected for the fourth and final time and go to the meeting on a Monday night. If the bastard who wanted to knock down half his house and squeeze two nasty little houses onto his plot in our pretty little village thought that he could get away with it, then he had another think coming.

Tonight I was watching Mac and Happer tussle with the natives on the west coast of Scotland (shot in part in Arisaig, a Challenge start-point) on the telly - 'Local Hero' - and I only just caught it in time - Phew! It all came down to Ben Knox, who lived in a ramshackle shack on the beach that he owned to impart his wisdom and stop the awful development.

Back in our real little world, it just happened that our case was about eighth on the list that evening and so we sat through a medley of good and bad planning issues. We were given a mighty tome of the planning applications to view to pass the time before we could present our own three minutes of passion, given so eloquently by Matthew. But each case was absolutely fascinating.

Just as Mac and Gordon Urquhart jousted and tussled with the planning, price and development of the refinery in the stunning scenery of the west coast of Scotland, so we were witnessing the same dramas for real, in what appeared to be a converted squash court with appalling acoustics.

Real life dramas with real life neighbours and planning consultants each having their three minutes to plead their cases. And then it was down to a show of hands by the councillors.

"This is fascinating stuff" I thought I said under my breath.

"Al, you have to get out more" said Ian.


  1. Our village is safe once again. No nasty little property developers are going to crap on our village, flog the rabbit hutches and piss off wth the momney!

    Yes - I reckon it was our Village: Ten, Property Developer: Nil

  2. Planning campaigns can be addictive :-)

  3. If we are not very careful our pretty little Cambridgeshire villages will be totally destroyed by the present raft of planning laws that allows development on 'Brown Field' sites - and amazingly - gardens are classified as 'Brown Field' sites!
    Of course canny develpopers pounce on this excuse to stick up totally inapropriate schemes with the 'added benefit' of providing additional housing in an area in 'desperate need' for housing.
    The fact that no-one is selling their houses at the moment surely shows that there is no desperate need at all.
    None of these developers intend to live in the houses they build; they just want to pocket the money and clear off, leaving the village worse off for their efforts.

  4. As obnoxious as it is Alan it is called democratic decision making! Get out there and see to it that elected members of local government play their part instead of this Blarite policy of Cabinet Government at local council level. It was a disaster, it is a disaster and it will be a disaster. Only you young people can have the energy to ensure that the errors of decision making are rectified. The alternative is that things will get worse.


  5. Sorry I'm a bit late posting (been 'occupied').
    Good for you all, keeping villages aa villages is good. The natural 'active' life of such communities shouldn't be corrupted. by Green Wellies and Chelsea Tractors - except where they're used for what they were designed to do.

  6. A friend from Ramsey tells me that 300 new homes are planned for the town? Is that right? I keep thinking that the Fens are going to be the next phase of development for house building in this country... I hope not, its a special place to me (I used to live in Huntingdon).

  7. It has to be said S.O.G.S: if they built a million homes over Huntingdon it could only improve it! (I live just a few miles away.)

    Ramsey on the other hand is a fine little town and it would be a shame to destroy it's character.

    Loads of developers sniff around with Government support, looking to destroy communities but in the end a lot of people just don't find the Fens that an attractive place to live (especially in Winter). Personally I think the huge skies and open landscapes are wonderfully dramatic.


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