Thursday, 15 May 2014

Green versus brown…

With the decision to support the development of thousands of homes on productive agricultural land at Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath, rather than the brownfield Long Marston Airfield site, you have to question if the ruling Tories of Stratford-on-Avon District Council (SDC) have actually read (and/or understood) the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

Core planning principles
17. Within the overarching roles that the planning system ought to play, a set of core land-use planning principles should underpin both plan-making and decision-taking. [Two of these] principles are that planning should:
  • encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value; [and]
  • promote mixed use developments, and encourage multiple benefits from the use of land in urban and rural areas, recognising that some open land can perform many functions (such as for wildlife, recreation, flood risk mitigation, carbon storage, or food production)….

No wonder Chris Saint had to – figuratively – get the whip out to corral his fellow Conservative councillors: as those on the planning committee, when Tysoe’s decision was made, re Gladman, obviously knew the NPPF back to front. No wonder, too, that there was rebellion – although the thought of two councillors (whose wards were involved) having to prostrate themselves to obtain “special dispensation” makes me feel very ill indeed; and proves that true democracy died a long, long time ago – and that the twisted precepts of national government have infected regional and local politics (as I have long suspected).

It makes you wonder what Councillor Saint really means when he says that he “shall be arguing strongly for Gladman’s Appeal to be dimissed”: especially when – as was pointed out by Mike Lane, of Ilmington Parish Council, in this week’s Herald – SDC’s methodology for distributing large chunks of unsuitable housing across the district’s local service villages (LSVs), such as Upper and Middle Tysoe, is so flawed and unbalanced. I know we desperately need the Core Strategy in place… – I just don’t like the way it’s being achieved.

As Ken Livingstone said: If Voting Changed Anything They’d Abolish it – and with no Green candidate (the only party that seems to make any sort of sense, nowadays – and, yes, I am still in possession of my Labour membership card…) standing in our local council elections, next week, it’s very difficult to know if there’s anyone who will not only truly represent and work for us, as a community; but will also stick to their promises, and principles (if they actually know what that word means, and had any to begin with…) – especially when it comes to sustainable and affordable development, and protecting our countryside and our future.

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