IT WAS inspiring to see first hand the work done at Abbey College this week.
Malvern is widely recognised as a hot bed of intellect but it appears as if the good work done at Abbey College has slipped under the radar – which incidentally was also developed in the town.
An establishment which plays a key role in producing the doctors and dentists of tomorrow is something Malvern residents should be proud to have on their doorstep.
And savings of well over £100million for the Government because of that work is something we can appreciate today more than ever.
THE PLANNING row in Malvern Hills rages on. After the turning down of the appeal by the Inspector of the proposed development at Hop Pole Green, Leigh Sinton, significantly on the grounds of unsustainability, we have realised several things.
The planning officers want development at any price because their professional reputations depend upon it. The Conservative bloc on the Northern Area Development Planning Committee want it at any price because their political reputation in Whitehall depends upon it. Meanwhile the public realise the need for sensible development to provide housing but want it to be strategic, planned with infrastructure to support it and respectful of the environment.
After the Inspector turned down the Hop Pole Green appeal we concluded that it might be better if the planning committee and its officers were bypassed and that all proposals go directly to the Inspectorate. Why? All of the above and because the head of planning, Duncan Rudge, declared publicly that the Inspector was wrong to turn down the Hop Pole Green appeal and that if it were resubmitted he would recommend it for approval again. I now have confidence that the Inspector will interpret the National Planning Policy Framework correctly, but not Duncan Rudge or the majority bloc of the committee.
I WAS struck by last week’s letter in which the writers wondered whether Coun Tuthill’s comment on a proposed housing development indicated ‘predetermination’. How I hate the term.
It used to be the case that residents could lobby their councillors and those councillors would take their case to the meeting. Councillors readily interacted with residents and were more than happy to fight for their needs and wishes. Today, however, it is often impossible to know what your councillor is thinking, what their views are and whether they will stand up for their electorate.
I recently asked my three ward councillors seven key questions about the proposal to share a chief executive with Wychavon, none replied, so I emailed again several days later, still no reply. So, unable to ascertain whether they had received the emails and with time running short, I dropped a copy into their letter boxes. The predetermination rule was actually abolished by the Government in the Localism Act two years ago, yet many councillors choose to continue to hide behind it, so they can blindly follow the party line rather than fighting for the needs and wishes of their electorate.
I AM prompted to comment following a letter on July 16 headed ‘Proposal is not justifiable’. I walk Lower Howsell Road up to four times a day in various parts at different times between 6am and 10pm and have done so over the last four years. It is a sleepy, weighted road (weight limit 7.5tonnes except for access). Apart from occasional delivery or removal and the odd tractor there is little heavy traffic. The speed limit is 30mph. Passing traffic seldom appears at more than four consecutive cars, even at the busiest time of day and I can always cross with relative ease. I see no threat to my safety or the comfort of residents with the addition of a possible 150 houses.
Far more importantly I believe Lower Howsell would be safer if:
a) Drivers kept to the speed limit.
b) Drivers stopped parking opposite T junctions.
c) Drivers stopped parking on pavements.
d) Drivers stopped parking in agricultural gate ways.
e) Drivers used car parking provided for footballers instead of parking both sides of the road (an accident waiting to happen).
A MESS of pottage is something immediately attractive but of little value taken foolishly and carelessly in exchange for something more distant. Well MHDC ruling Conservatives drank greedily of the pottage when they voted mutely and meekly to agree to appoint a joint chief executive and senior management team with Wychavon District Council. The pottage in this case is a Government bribe but the more distant thing that is being given away is our independence. I regret being a Cassandra figure and suspecting that this would happen.
Have our civic leaders learned nothing from the ill-fated attempt to merge Herefordshire and Worcestershire? It seems not.
Our future as an independent area of our great county is seriously threatened by this short sighted vote.