Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Planning needs to be local
The officer's advice to approve was confirmed by 4 votes to one, the dissenting voice being my colleague Karen Barratt. So why should they have rejected this?
1. The application was a mess. The sketch provided by Vodafone was misleading and the Vodafone representative managed to say that the existing mast site on Badger Farm Road was both perfectly viable and impossible. No one pressed him on this apparent contradication.
2. The mast will be out of character with the area. Vodafone will helpfully disguise it as telegraph pole, making it the only telegraph pole on the entire estate. Clever eh?
3. The officer's recommendation to accept was accompanied by the proviso that it was "subject to demonstration". No demonstration of the height took place. Coupled with the misleading sketch this meant that the committee guessed the height of the mast and its visual impact when making their decision. That's right...they GUESSED.
4. Local people didn't want it. I know that's not a planning consideration, after all the phone companies paid a lot of money to the government for 3G licences and wouldn't want NIMBYs getting in the way.
So Badger Farm has an ugly, unwanted phone mast foisted on it by a sub-committee comprising councillors from Shedfield, Kings Worthy, Owslebury and Weeke, with a dissenting vote from Fulflood.
Planning affects communities and needs to be as far as possible in the hands of those communities and the members that are locally elected by them, not people who may well never visit the Ridgeway again.
Friday, October 10, 2008
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Thursday, October 09, 2008
"Speed dating" at the Theatre Royal!
The Theatre holds annual meetings with city councillors to update us on how it spends it grant money and the services it provide to the local community. This year's format meant that we met a whole range of theatre staff, from board members to front of house and got to spend a few minutes with each of them. I found it useful and interesting. It's rare to get a cross section view of an organisation and the sense of a happy and motivated team came across very strongly.
I believe, as I've said on this blog before, that the Theatre Royal plays a vital role in the cultural life of this city and that cultural life is one of the things that makes Winchester what it is. I fully back the efforts of the team at TRW to increase their audiences, take the arts into the villages of the district and improve communications through what is going to be a state of the art new website. Break a leg guys!
Bushfield Camp hits the headlines
We'll certainly be keeping a close eye on any proposals that emerge.