Friday, 28 September 2012

Keeping It Green

One day, I shall probably stop caring about things. I shan't mind that Indie writers can no longer sign books in Waterstones. I won't fret that future teenagers will have to sit gender discriminatory EBaccs, (had letter in Guardian; missed it? never mind). I'll even stand back and let the Town Council build all over our local urban green space. 

As some of you know, it is almost exactly five years since I started my campaign stop a green field near where I live from being covered in Tesco School of Architecture houses. Two years ago, I put in a Town Green application, as the field used to be part of an old Common. Both Town and District councils objected. Wonder why? Just heard recently that in December, there will be a Public Inquiry to settle the matter, hopefully once and for all.

Applying for Town Green Status has been a tremendous undertaking. I have learned a great deal about Housing Acts, Land Acts, Open Spaces Acts, and things people got up to on the field in the old days. I have also learned about what goes on behind the scenes in local government, thanks to the Freedom of Information requests, which are submitted regularly in a variety of names.

Because this is an area of social housing, the community cannot afford a lawyer to represent them at the Inquiry, so guess who will be acting as lay advocate? A rather steep learning curve for a pensioner with only a 'lower second' in English and Archaeology. 

However, we are extremely lucky in having the support of the Open Spaces Society, and the editor of the local paper, who publishes informative articles telling other residents what we're up to, plus my sarky letters about local councillors and their so-called ''green'' agenda.

 Researching the history of the land has unearthed some fascinating stuff. The best discovery so far is a deed of conveyance signed by Apsley Cherry Garrard, whose family lived locally. Apsley Cherry Garrard was on Scott's ill-fated Polar Exploration. Aged 24, he found Scott and his companions frozen to death in their hut. The discovery subsequently triggered a complete nervous breakdown. 

So, that's the current state of play on the local campaign, which now slogs on towards December. Why do I bother to pile into things all the time? I really don't know, sorry. Maybe because somebody has to. One day I shall probably stop caring. 




But not, I think, quite yet.

Next week: Another fine guest will be ensconced on the Pink Sofa, primed and ready to share their writing experience. Don't miss it.





13 comments:

  1. Don't ever stop caring, Carol. The world needs more people like you. :)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! One day, I shall have to -old age, but will keep going. The support of friends like you is heartening.

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  2. This campaign sounds as if its taken you into some fascinating areas of discovery. I do wish you well with it. If everyone waited for someone else to object then no one would ever stand up to the big building bullies.

    Several years ago we made a strong objection to proposed new houses on green fields behind our house. We held public meetings, involved all the 'big names' we could find and we won. Sadly the developer went to appeal and a faceless official from far away overturned the decision. We now have houses behind us and a road running along the end of our garden where an apple orchard used to be. Sorry to throw this negative story in and just hope you have more luck than we did. like I said, someone's got to stand up and fight.

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    1. Well done for fighting. We do not have any 'plans' or planning permission, so no developer to appeal! You are right though, it has been, and continues to be a fascinating journey.

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  3. The world could do with a lot more people like you, Carol. It'll be a paradise one day - just watch!

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  4. You'll be more than a match for them Carol! Good luck! I don't have kids but I was lucky enough to grow up in the valleys where (even though it was post industrial) we were only a stones throw from the good old mountainside/river/woods. We're already concreting over school playing fields and 'waste' ground. Soon kids won't know what grass is - fight on!

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  5. Carol, I can imagine you in the old people's home - rallying the other geriatrics to stand up (wheelchairs allowing) for their rights! But that's a long way off. In the meantime, please Carry On Campaigning. As others have said, we need more people like you.

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  6. You doing a wonderful job Carol so more power to you. I once took on a company called " Greenbelt" they planted trees in front of our house on a small strip of green by digging huge holes and planting tiny seedlings in the soils they took from the hole,leaving the hole unfilled. I phoned the local paper and my daughter's photo was taken sitting inside the hole. We won eventually and they filled the holes in and removed the trees which would have blocked all light out from a dull house. I often wonder when I pass that house if the occupants ever knew what I had done and how there house is brighter now. Probably not. Hope you win too.

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    1. Juliet, I know you know the exact situation! Anne - good to know I am not alone!

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  7. Someone needs to care! Good for you. Is there not a lawyer/solicitor you could get on board as a 'volunteer' to help you in court?

    These green spaces need to be saved!

    Good luck!

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  8. I say fight the good fight for as long as we have it in us. Keep going, Carol.
    Laura x

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    1. Ladies, thanks for your support. Hard work, and too many Tories!

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