|My long suffering cherry!|
In the Hethersett area we are seeing the final acts in some long running sagas that will shape communities for many years to come. Governments (both past and present) have decreed that more houses are needed for our ever growing population and the slow turning cogs have got to the point of examining the many planning applications. This puts local democracy to an extreme test where one set of elected representatives (District Councillors) have to implement to policies originated by others (Members of Parliament). Since very few people want their views over green fields to be replaced by a housing estate this creates a lot of conflict and has the potential to undo the efforts that some people are making to build local communities.
It is easy to get depressed by this and unfortunately some dedicated people have been hit hard by what they see as big government stamping on local wishes. Certainly for anyone involved in Transition it seems like a step in the wrong direction to cover more fields in concrete and create more traffic. However there is always opportunity in adversity and the much discussed cycle path is now firmly written into the plans – we now need to work for allotments, sports grounds and green spaces in order to provide facilities within the local communities. As Chair of the Parish Council I have done my best to be open with people and to keep them informed and the majority of people have reacted with admirable composure even if they don’t like the outcome. We may even get some new help on the PC.
Most initiatives in Transition are focussed on working with likeminded people – it’s a lot harder to work with the general public but there are grounds for optimism. I’d never openly describe my role on the PC as a Transition project but most people are aware of the issues that we face and most want to live in a supportive community. The difficult part is to persuade them to get involved. Small steps are being taken but in the right direction.
I’ll be doing my best to make sure that lots of trees get planted around the new devel- opments. One of the PC trees got Weeping Canker and I had to fell it – but the good news is that cat will have fires to lie in front of next winter and my run of free winter fuel extends to 34 years!