Thursday, 9 January 2014

Think different…

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently – they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
– Steve Jobs

“Think different” was Apple’s slogan for a long time; and, those of us fighting Gladman’s proposed development on Oxhill Road did exactly that. Because we had to. And thus won the first battle of what may yet be a protracted war. (Again, because we had to.)

Last night, the district council’s Planning Committee (East) voted unanimously against the request for outline planning permission; and, in doing so, cited reasons almost identical to those we had listed in our briefing paper to them.

As far as I know, nothing like this has ever been produced before. But, when you are limited to six minutes of speech at such a meeting (three for the Parish Council – the wonderful Mark Sewell – and three for any objectors – in this case, the magnificent Keith Risk, of the Tysoe Residents (Neighbourhood Planning) Group; flanked by resident experts Professor John Hunter, OBE, and Dr Michael Sanderson), surely common-sense would dictate that you detail your arguments in some way or other? One that is attractive, readable, and meshed deeply with the planning regulations the committee are to be reliant on? (And not just common-sense, neither. Think of this from a marketing perspective – or even from a lobbyist’s point of view – and suddenly it’s not such a difficult thing to justify. Obvious, really. Just – because it’s never been done before – bloody hard work. I’ve never seen a blank canvas quite as expansive and empty….)

There are no rules when it comes to campaigning. I think they have to be broken, and remade anew, every time – especially as each campaign is different, too. However, we did rely on some – those “planning regulations”, mentioned above – by using the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and throwing it back in the faces of those who would use it to justify development at any cost (or profit); but without considering that, at the heart of the NPPF, is a presumption in favour, only of sustainable development: “which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking”.

Not so crazy, then. Just a little, as our American cousins say, “left-field”.

Have we changed the world, though? Well, the jury, I’m afraid, is still out on that one….

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