Monday, 10 March 2014
Rogue regulators must be any government's worst nightmare, but for us, the general public, having to use our own time and limited resources to stop abuses by public sector employees is especially galling. So on 7 March I wrote to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make him aware that both this council (and probably not the only one in the country) and his planning inspectors are ignoring government guidelines and ask him to act.
Please take the time to write to him, too. I wrote as follows:
"I wish to alert you to the very real concern raised in Central Bedfordshire (and no doubt elsewhere in England and Wales) by the council proposing to use Green Belt land for some gypsy and traveller sites in the Local Plan, in contravention of national planning guidelines that say this may only be done in “exceptional circumstances”, as none have been cited or are known to exist.
Furthermore, this draft local-plan-in-disregard-of-national-guidelines has recently been cited by a national planning inspector, when considering an appeal elsewhere in the constituency (Heath and Reach), as justification for proposing the use of Green Belt instead of the appealed site.
In brief, we have the bizarre situation that local (Tory) council is disregarding national guidelines on use of the Green Belt, and now national planning inspectors are doing the same.
I very much doubt that ours is the only council to ignore the planning guidelines on Green Belt use and would appreciate you looking into the matter with some urgency: Central Beds Council's consultation ends 31 March.
I suggest that DCLG needs actively to regulate regulators and I'm writing separately to Lord Curry of Kirkharle, chairman of the Better Regulation Executive to draw this to his attention and enlist his help.
I look forward to hearing from you."
Saturday, 8 March 2014
Lib Dem Broadcast
Last month the new Liberal Democrat party political broadcast aired on BBC One, BBC Two, and ITV One. In it, Nick Clegg said that the Liberal Democrats are the only party prepared to fight to keep Britain in the European Union:
"Are you IN, or are you OUT? That's the real question at stake at the European elections on May 22nd.
"UKIP wants to take Britain out of the EU - even though it would wreck the recovery and destroy jobs. The Conservatives are now openly flirting with exit. And the Labour PArty don't have the courage of their convictions on this - they won't lift a finger to keep Britain in the EU ...
"Let's keep Britain prosperous, safe and strong. Be for IN. Vote Liberal Democrat."
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Monday, 24 February 2014
Monday, 10 February 2014
Will it happen here?
Central Bedfordshire Council has just agreed a consultation on the closure of three middle schools in Dunstable because they will have too few pupils to be viable.
Cllr Nigel Aldis who represents Sandy and taught in a middle school for nearly twenty years is concerned that what has happened in the Dunstable area could spread across the rest of Central Bedfordshire.
It follows as a result of lower schools in the area having their age range increased to take in children in years 5 and 6. The upper schools have been allowed to admit pupils from years 7 and 8. These are all the year groups of a middle school.
“This council has adopted a very casual approach to school reorganisation without thinking through the implications of allowing schools to change their age ranges” he said at a recent meeting. “You cannot change the age ranges of lower and upper schools and expect middles to be unaffected,” he added.
“We all want to see the very best outcomes for all our children but this approach causes uncertainty for students, parents and teachers.”
Cllr Aldis is calling for a joined up approach to this vexed question of two-tier or three-tier and not achieve two tiers by stealth.
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
The Tory-led council is dismissive of recent utterances by Secretary of State Eric Pickles about the sanctity of Green Belt, pointing out that his planning inspectorate have effectively declared open season on Green Belt, as seen with their Three Mile Road site challenge of CBC now with the courts.
Read the rest of this article on the Barton-le-Clay Blog ...