Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some you win and some you lose

A rollercoaster day today! The day started with a series of lengthy phone conversations, all needed but none of them planned for so the plans for the day began to slip behind time.
Then came a piece of unexpected good news - the appeal against the Planning committee's refusal to allow demolition and replacement of Wainstones in Leven Rd, Yarm was dismissed by the inspector. 3 cheers all round. Maybe at last the inspectors are waking up to the importance of gardens in suburbs.
Hard on the heels of that came news of a change of plan for our Fairtrade event on Monday. Jose, the banana producer, had to leave early to go home to deal with the aftermath of the flooding in the Dominican Republic. His place will be taken by a cashew nut farmer from El Salvador - very interesting because I know nothing about cashew nuts. Sad for Jose, but Juan gets the chance to see a country he might not otherwise have visited and we get to learn about a different product. Clouds and silver linings spring to mind.
This evening I went to a meeting of the Friends of Tees Heritage Park where I met the local CPRE chairman. He was hopping mad, because the owners of Wainstones have served notice on Stockton Council that they intend to demolish the building anyway! Because Stockton Planning Department were incompetent and didn't start the Local List when they said they were going to, there aren't any buildings on it so we'll really struggle to save Wainstones now. Campaigners are hoping that pressure can be brought to bear to get the list in place, but I'm not convinced the bureaucratic process allows the time to do that. I'll be asking tomorrow morning!
So, on balance, not a good day after all.
Tomorrow is a whole new day! And there's a petition to sign to help the campaign against this abuse of planning guidance, commonly known as garden-grabbing. S if you haven't already signed - go do it please.

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