Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I had a very interesting conversation with a local stamp collector today who told me that there is an increasing problem for stamp collectors with modern post offices. The post office likes to use sticky labels showing the postage paid rather than sticking stamps on parcels and letters, so increasingly he finds them reluctant to sell an entire sheet of stamps to him. It seems to be part of the drive to efficiency over personal service everywhere and the world is poorer for it.
The Fairtrade Borough Group met at lunch time and as usual we all want to do far more than we have the resources to achieve. Oh for more people with the time to commit to spreading the word. We will have our stall at a Family Fun Day in Thornaby later in the month, as well as a wine tasting event later in the year, but we could do so much more with more time and hands.
The council papers that awaited me at home brought me back to earth with a bump - the agenda for next week's planning committee includes the Allen's West development with a recommendation for approval. I need to read the report very thoroughly before Wednesday afternoon. There are lots of suggested conditions in there and if the application is passed those conditions will be vital to keep the impact on current residents as low as possible.
This application highlights the big problem with planning - it's not really planning but reacting to other people's plans. For the council to have make plans for housing or employment or leisure developments takes 3 years of consultation and refinement and reconsultation, but developers can put in their plans at any time and within 3 months the council has to decide what to do about it (less time if it's a smaller application). Residents and councillors find that very frustrating and I know that some planning officers do too.

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