Friday, 10 April 2015


An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish.

Perhaps I am feeling peeved; perhaps it is the headache and spatial disorientation I am experiencing after reading well over a hundred pages of phrases such as “topography and water courses with historical settlement foci lying in the valley base”; “new residential development, including windfalls”; and “the NDOs will then be agreed with SDC”. But why are Keith Risk’s and Simon Forrester’s – admittedly cogent – emails produced in full in the latest version of the Neighbourhood Flan (it appears to be made up of many excellent individual ingredients: but, somehow, having been baked, now emerges from the oven tasting of nothing, and resembling soggy cardboard); but my blog post is reduced to six highly-condensed table entries and a footnote consisting solely of a link?

Considering, as well, that only thirteen other people (out of a parish of “about 1500 people”) appear to have commented on the first draft, then how (even though it has grow’d like Topsy) can this reflect “the thoughts and feelings of local people”? And were their – these select few – comments equally redacted? After wading through the plethora of links that pepper the document, who (meaning the final inspector) is going to type this long address (accurately) into their Web browser to see that my comments (as well as those provided in response to the original questionnaire) were actually a lot more nuanced than their subjective and summary executions would have you believe?

It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
– Shakespeare: Macbeth

I am also insulted by the two-page ‘Easy-read’ Summary and the childish Purple Stars of Aspiration (and will be trying to scrub the patronizing implications of these from my flesh for many weeks): but have not yet worked out if the relative microscopic size of the not-really-an-abstract-more-an-excuse is because the authors believe us all to be simpletons, incapable of understanding their mighty handiwork; they don’t want us to realize what a complex mess the NP actually is when we (try to) wade through it; or this is yet another of their pathetic attempts at “consultation”. And yet, I am told, again, that the group behind the Plan – as with the first version – believe this is ready for submission: even though it is peppered with notes and gaps (especially with regards to that consultation – or, should I say, almost complete lack of it).

To be honest, if it is supposed to represent the village and its residents, it should not need such a noddy guide. But the group seems incapable of anything but making the readily transparent utterly opaque. Therefore, a lot of the language is similarly prodigiously obscure. For instance what does this – selected at random – actually mean…?

The Tysoe NP is the de jure plan-making process referred to. The sites are ranked through a prioritisation process. This ranking is described in Appendix B6. The questionnaire (Appendix B3) conducted as part of building the evidence base for this plan contributed to the prioritisation process.

It is no wonder so few people have commented.

I could say so much more. But – aside from, as previously stated, the fact that I think this document openly represents the biases of a small élite within the village; that it will probably soon be superseded, like its predecessors; and will have about as much power as a cardboard flan in a Force Nine gale – my blood pressure is already at boiling point. If anyone else in the village agrees, and doesn’t want the NP in its current form representing them, either: then they can say so on the Plan’s website; comment below; or email me and/or the Parish Council. (Remember: the final vote on the Plan only requires 50% of the turnout – not 50% of the village – to say yea….)

Talking of the Parish Council: perhaps the new one (to be elected on 7 May) will consider how its predecessor doled out its claimed “official approval” for the Plan’s development – and whether that should be modified or revoked. Is there a contract governing this relationship? If so, surely it should be in the public domain? And I, for one, therefore, would like to see it: as I feel very under-represented by a document that could, theoretically (however unlikely), govern the next thirty or forty years of my life.

PS Note to the Neighbourhood Plan creators – I would like both this post and my previous two (first and second) to be included in full, please, in the next draft. Thank you.

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