Monday, August 15, 2005

Chair in absentia

With a planning meeting this week, The Councillor has been doing his duty and reviewing the documents. Whilst doing this he realised the date of the meeting clashed with his wedding anniversary... and so has had to make his apologies and get the Vice-chairman to stand-in for him. Whilst he takes his civic duty seriously... he's sure you can fill in the blanks.

Sauce for the Goose

It has come to The Councillor's attention that the architect who managed to drive through the palns against all local wishes used to work on the District Council. The Councillor sniffs the air and wonders if he can smell the latest catch.

He goes on to observe that the District Councillor who, so forcefully, ensured said application was passed... is objecting to another development in a neighbouring Parish on the same grounds we used, and has advised the local Parishes to watch out for such developments. Mmmm, thinks The Councillor, "I wonder where he lives?"

Having the Chair

It would apear that during The Councillor's absence from The Chamber in July (due to pressure of work) he was unanimously elected Chairman of the Planning Committee. This has come as a bit of a suprise as he has only just found out.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Madam Chairman

Madam Chairman is upset by the outcome of the district development committee meeting. Too upset to talk about it at present. She has, however, dropped in a copy of the speech she gave prior to the meeting. Neighbours also spoke up. Comments were received that this was the best presented case thay had seen.

Depite these efforts, the vote went against democracy local opinion 6-2. This is a thrashing by any measure - it's not even as if it went to penalties!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A Triumph of Local Democracy - Not!

Well checking the Distrct Authority's Development Control Site on the web, The Coucillor sees that permission has been granted for the dwelling discussed in previous posts. It is interesting. The Councillor must ask the Clerk to check back how many of the Parish Council's rejections have actually been overturned... and consequently whether they have any value whatsoever.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Community Spirit

The Councillor has witnessed a serious outbreak of community spirit.

The furore over the planning story has begun to foment revolt. Neighbours are actually out in the street debating the pros and cons of the expected decision. The Councillor expects that what has actually pushed things over the edge is that the neighbour requesting the planning permission is actually moving away from the area. He will not have to live with the outcome of the decision and the evident opprobrium of the neighbours.

The Councillor finds this whole thing rather distasteful.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Planning Concerns

The Councillor is concerned. The District Council held a site visit where a set of plans had been submitted to develop a new property in the garden of an existing house. Many letters of objection had been received, the local resident's committee had objected, the Parish Council had objected (though The Councillor had absented himself from that discussion), and the District Councillor had three times rejected it in the past.

The District Council are recommending approving the application. Why?

  • Has the character of the area changed? Previous rejections were based on the damage to the "amenity" of the area. Of course it hasn't.
  • Is the new development unobtrusive? Of course it isn't, and it directly looks across the gardens of 3 or 4 neighbours.

This smacks of inconsistency, at least. But more worrying was the comment from the leader of the group on the site visit, who thought it would be a good idea to develop further into the large gardens. This seems perverse.

So, The Councillor has to ask "What is the point of local democracy, if the views of the local community (who will have to live with this development) are ignored?"

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dispatch Box

The Councillor's Sunday was briefly interrupted by the arrival of a fellow councillor with the "dispatch box". This mountain of papers makes its way around the councillors for the information, education, and edification ensuring that they are all prepared for the next council meeting.
The Councillor hasn't ventured to said pile as yet, so has no idea of its import.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Chairman

The Councillor was phoned at the weekend to ask if he would stand as Chairman. The current Chairman was fulfilling the role under duress, and was unable to attend some of the external meetings. The Councillor expressed his thanks, but declined, feeling that his current work commitments would preclude him from doing a thorough job. He did, however, volunteer to try and coerce / cajole / bully a fellow councillor to accept the role.

The Councillor approached his colleague and won her over to the idea.

At the council mmeting The Councillor nominated said colleague, who was quickly accepted and took over there and then. The Parish's first female leader... then a debate started about what she should be called. All of the (spit!) Politically Correct (spit!) phrases were trotted out... Chair, Madam Chair, Chairwoman and so forth. Believe it or not, however, there has recently been a debate and ruling on this at national level. The correct form of address is, apparently, Madame Chairman. (And people wonder what goes on in the halls of government - you can rest peacefully in your beds knowing that there is national guidance on such matters).

Best of luck to our new Madame Chair. The Councillor thinks she will do a splendid job.

Neighbourhood Watch

This week The Councillor attended a full council meeting. This comprised:

  • A Planning meeting
  • A Finance & General Purpose Meeting
  • and the Parish Council Meeting

The parish meeting was of particular interest. The local coordinator for Neighbourhood Watch came to give the Council his review.
"Crime has been low. In The Enclave there has been but a single burglary, and several incidents of theft from vehicles in the last year. No crime has been reported at all in the last six months. Bayshore Drive has not been as lucky with several burgalries from houses, where doors had been left unsecured."

All of this he recited from memory, whilst delving through a pile of papers and and seraching through his box of bits.
"I'd typed all of this up in order to give to the Clerk"

But he couldn't find the report. The Councillor, soto voce, suggested that it might have been stolen. This caused a degree of mirth... but the chap just continued and bumbled his way through several further items culminating in the display of an illuminated house sign. This caused a degree of interest as houses in The Enclave do not have house numbers, only names - people often find it difficult to find a particular house.
"The sign comes on at dusk and switches off at dawn. Let me show you"

He proceeded to switch off the lights, and close the doors.
Nothing happened.
He then bent double and thrust the sign under the table.
"There, see." he said.

Moving along between each of the councillors he thrust the sign under the table... and they say cabaret is dead.