Saturday, 1 December 2012

Legally Insane

As many of you know, I am the lay advocate on a Town Green Public Inquiry. Briefly, our local town council wants to cram an inappropriate Tesco School of Architecture development on to a disused allotment site, now designated a Wildlife area, and containing rare Roman Snails. They are so rare they are IUCN Red Listed all across Europe. (Think White Rhino, but smaller and in a shell). We are trying to preserve the adjoining Playing Field, which they have also woefully neglected over the years, and which we suspect they have in their sights as well.

'Lay advocate' means that I know sweet F.A. about the law, but I'm piling in anyway. Mainly because we can't afford a proper lawyer. I've already blogged about my attempts to construct my legal arguments (A Law Unto Myself). If you haven't read this and want a laugh, do check it out on the Archive. After writing that particular blog, I found myself 'followed' by several lawyers, who appear to think I am the funniest thing since public executions.
Westfield Playing Fields

Every now and then though, something happens that lightens the darkness that descends when I contemplate the enormity of what I am about to do. Like the discovery that the council, eschewing the free in-house legal services, have hired themselves a specialist and no doubt horrendously expensive barrister to 'fight' me, thus completely losing the moral high ground that they weren't holding in the first place.

Last week, my spirits were also lifted by the discovery of a little picnic bench, that mysteriously 'appeared' on the field. The Council Fairy has, it seems, decided to make a visit. Bear in mind that we have been asking them for some seating for years. Now, two weeks before a Public Inquiry, and a site visit from the Inspector, who will see for himself how run-down and neglected our park is, we have seating. Mirabile dictu! (My Inner Cynic is currently bent double with laughter).

I am posting a photo of the little bench, because I wouldn't put it past the council to remove it after the PI and put it somewhere else more deserving. So here it is:
The little picnic bench

The town council's current mission statement is, Closer to the Community. I have suggested they might like to change it to, May contain Nuts.

Next week: The PINK SOFA is dusted down and made ready to welcome a new guest. There may be some Xmas decorations to admire as well.

25 comments:

  1. I wish you all the very best of luck with your fight. If more people stood by their principles this world would be a much nicer place. I do hope your community appreciate and will give backing to you. (Love that comment - may continue nuts :-)

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  2. Keep going, Carol - councillors are only people, and it sounds as if you know much more about what you are doing than they do.

    And their barrister - his/her job it to trip you up. You will be asked leading questions - take all the time you need to answer them. They may try to bully you (they'll call it 'hurrying you' but it will feel like bullying) so just take your time and be clear. When they score points (and they will) shrug and let them go, or it can put you off for hours! Good luck.

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    1. Thanks very much for this, Jo. We are preparing a 'help' sheet for our lovely witnesses - will incorporate your suggestions.

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  3. Good luck with this. The other sides's pro lawyer must running scared by now!

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  4. I think you're doing a wonderful thing here Carol. Not sure I care what happens to the roman whazzits, but any fight against government abuse is well worthwhile. Keep up the good work. I'm for you, in spirit if not in situ. :)

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  5. May the best snails win! They may be small, but they may be unexpectedly potent. Enjoyed the irony!
    Audentes fortuna iuvat...

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  6. You go, girl!! Just remember, lawyers and barristers are only those with advanced critical thinking skills plus a few mouldy old cases to act as precedents. Just remember not to be diverted from your point or to be drawn into pointless debates. Stick to your guns and keep firing them! I'm cheering for you and the one who put the bench there. I'm sure the snails are too - bashing their shells in a tattoo of support xx

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  7. I love that the bench showed up! I hope that you are able to keep the space the way it should be. Go snails! Best of luck!
    ~Jess

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    1. Val - thanks for your support! DMS - we are expecting LOTS of things to 'show up' in the next week!! Haha

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  8. Keep up the good work!! And I DO care about the snails, so there :)

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    1. I know you do. They speak very highly of you, too.

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  9. There are snail trails all over the sofa...thought you should know......

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  10. Oh, those public executions were Such Fun!

    Bravo Zulu Carol !! And Good Luck!!

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  11. I think it's great that you are getting involved in something you believe in and I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out :)

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    1. Thanks Lynn. They get everywhere! Philip: I shall do my level best. And Rebecca, I will keep you all posted!

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  12. Carol, you are a star. Go WAG (Westfield Allotment Group)! Will be thinking of you next week and looking forward to a debrief over coffee (or something stronger).

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    1. Thanks Juliet - good to have a 'local' comment.

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  13. I get snails in my kitchen every time it rains. And slugs. Can't say I like them very much but appreciate they were probably created with a purpose in mind. In any event, their disappearance would no doubt ruin the delicate eco-balance of our planet.
    In contrast, Tescos are not, as yet, endangered species and it's hard to see how their continued proliferation will benefit mankind!

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  14. Tescos do, however, provide extremely good cakes!

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  15. Well done for standing up against the 'big boys'. Tesco wanted to knock down one of my favourite dancing venues, the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley. It is now listed thank heavens and beyond their evil campaign to take over the world!

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