Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brookfield protest - still waiting for a decision...

On Tuesday evening (19th August) there was a large gathering of people wearing green outside The Corby Cube.

It was a peaceful protest about the plans to destroy 50 hectares (120 acres, or approx 70 football pitches) of trees on the outskirts of Corby to create the controversial 'resource recovery park'.

The protesters were a varied bunch, some very young, some young at heart, but all united by a common purpose - to save the trees.

The protest was timed to coincide with the Brookfield decision meeting, however this turned out to be the Brookfield deferral meeting.

The developer got his wish and left the council with no choice but to defer their decision after new information was produced by his agents late Friday afternoon.

Undeterred, the protesters still attended to send a clear message to Corby Council and the developer that this development is not wanted.

I doesn't matter what PR spin the developer tries to put on it, destroying this designated Local Wildlife Site is just wrong.

Empty promises of jobs won't fool us either - we've heard it all before.  Anyone remember Stanion Plantation?  What happened to the trees there, and for what?  We don't want the same thing to happen at Brookfield.

Despite the meeting being held in the summer holidays when many families are away, the council chamber's public gallery was packed out with protesters. I can't imagine that happens often.

Apparently the planning development committee still had to meet to hear why they needed to defer the decision and then vote on the deferral.

So, having all trooped up about three flights of stairs, sat in the Council Chamber - which reminded me of a cross between an exam hall and a 1970s dining room - there was a discussion, then a vote, and we then heard that the decision was indeed to be deferred, and we all left again.  It was over in less than 30 minutes.

But we'll all be back, having studied the new information, and there'll be even more of us next time.  Hopefully we might actually get a decision then.  I'll let you know...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Great British Bake Off

Thank goodness for The Great British Bake Off.

With so much awfulness going on in the world right now, it's lovely to have an hour where you can tune in to something that's not going to depress you or tax you too much mentally.

We all watch it in our house - daughter particularly enjoys it.  But then again, she likes most cookery programmes; this summer holiday has introduced her to the joys of Gino and Mel at lunchtime.  Actual quote from daughter - 'Mum, did you know Mel's older than you?  But she only looks like she's 30!'  I didn't dare pursue this conversation any further.

But I digress, back to GBBO.  I tend to sit and marvel at Mary Berry's teeth and worry how they'll stand up to some of the sturdier baked goods she has to taste test.

I gaze in admiration at her perfectly manicured nails, coiffured hair and immaculate outfits.  Yes, when I grow up, I'd like to be Mary Berry.

I also wonder whether or not Paul Hollywood's eyes are his own - I mean, obviously they're his, he hasn't borrowed or hired them for the day, but are they naturally that blue or does he wear contact lenses?

All this, while caring about the contestants and whether or not their cakes will rise, will they cope with the technical challenge and will their showstopper be just that, or more of a door-stopper?

I've already got my favourite bakers - my proverbial money is on Nancy.  She's from Lincolnshire, and us Midlanders tend to do well in these sort of competitions, as demonstrated by last year's winner Frances Quinn from Market Harborough.

I also like Diana the WI lady, Richard the builder, and Kate from Brighton, who made a rather spectacular red velvet Swiss roll in week one.

But I think Nancy can do it.  Anyone who makes a replica Jaffa Cake but first has to ask her husband to construct a fancy guillotine to ensure an even cut gets my vote.

Such care and precision, it reminds me of myself - I open my boxes of Mr Kipling's finest very carefully too...

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Brookfield - it ain't over 'til it's over...

After nearly two years of waiting, at what will no doubt be a packed Council Chamber at The Corby Cube at 7pm on Tuesday 19th August, the decision whether or not to grant planning permission for the 'resource recovery park' at Brookfield Plantation will be made.

Despite reading that refusal is being recommended on technical grounds, I for one won't be happy until we know for certain that the future of the wildlife and the trees is secure.

Now is not the time for complacency - remember, in the words of Lenny Kravitz, 'it ain't over till it's over'.  My concern is that 'technicalities' can be overcome if you have enough money, time and determination. 

On the day of this meeting the campaigners against the development will hold a peaceful demonstration at 6.30pm outside The Cube as a reminder to the Councillors that this is not a popular application.

'Not a popular application' is a huge understatement - the council's report says: "the planning application has been one of the most controversial applications in Corby Borough Council's history with over 350 individual objections and a petition with over 1000 signatures."

Many of the campaigners will be taking their children too, as this affects their futures.  None of them want to see the trees and wildlife replaced by concrete.  They care about Chalky the white stag, the great crested newts and all the other creatures living happily among the trees.

With regards to jobs being created by the proposed scheme, various numbers have been claimed by the developer.  However, how can any of these can be substantiated when no details of businesses signing up to the 'resource recovery park' can be given?  Plus, with numerous brownfield sites available, why not create jobs there?  Why destroy this area rich in flora and fauna?

Ultimately, for me the question is how can anyone even contemplate losing this designated Local Wildlife Site, complete with a wide range of protected species - an area that Corby Council pledged to protect - replacing it with a 'resource recovery park', whatever that might include?

We can only hope that the Councillors make the right decision...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Loom bands

The loom band craze has arrived at our house.

We have the starter kit, sets of coloured bands, and daughter has been given strict instructions not to leave them anywhere the puppy can get hold of them.  I've already heard of a friend's dog who 'passed' loom bands, producing a multi-coloured 'offering' for collection.  Not pleasant, and not to be repeated!

For the uninitiated, loom bands are small rubber bands which you can weave together to make friendship bracelets - or even a dress as one enterprising young girl from Desborough did.

The manufacturers must have known they'd got a hit on their hands when schools start banning them.

My daughter's school did in the summer term when there were numerous arguments and fallings out over who owned which loom band bracelet.

Despite the ban, on my way into an assembly at school there was a trail of loom bands, reminding me of a modern-day version of the breadcrumb trail in Hansel and Gretel.

A parent was picking them up, and I thought to myself what a great citizen he was, caring for the environment and making sure birds didn't choke on them, etc.  As he then pocketed them, he announced he'd be making his own bracelet when he got home - and I don't think he was joking!

There have of course been the inevitable horror stories in the press, of the child who got hit in the eye, and the other one who fell asleep with one wrapped around his fingers, cutting off his circulation.  Several people noted that his parents took the photo first before removing the offending article - surely it should be safety first, not photo first!

But generally, most kids seem to play quite happily with them and are being creative.

It also means they're not plugged into one of the multitude of electrical gadgets they own these days - you can't simultaneously weave loom bands and play on a games console or send texts, unless you know otherwise?  Now there's a challenge for the school summer holidays!