Old McClarkson had a farm….

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Old McClarkson had a farm….

All together now: Ee-i-ee-i-oh noooo!

Ok, so please don’t ostracise me but I binge watched Clarkson’s Farm because I had read about the problems he was having with his local Council (West Oxfordshire District Council).

Poor old Clarkson, he had a few very sad moments when his favourite cow (Pippa) couldn’t get pregnant, and she almost ended up on the BBQ and the naughty old Mink ate his chickens. All of them.

And then there was all the problems with the Planning Department and his NIMBY neighbours (who he described as the red trouser brigade)… An absolute case study… Oh the joys of it all! He had to replace the corrugated iron roof with Welsh slate on his farm shop. He was refused permission to turn his lambing shed into a restaurant. The Council objected to him building a farm track on his own land. His application for a car park was turned down when the case officer got confused and suggested he wanted to build a 500-acre car park. At one point he also foolishly called a public meeting where they could all come and cast the first stone (I never advocate this; it almost always makes things worse).

Poor, poor old Jezza. Throughout this the focus was about diversifying farming practices and farmland (as suggested by the Government) and demonstrating very clearly the benefits of what diversification can achieve in local communities. Many of these farmers are facing oblivion with bovine TB and the impact of Brexit on their farms. Surely, all things that should be taken into consideration during the debate about perceived harm to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Afterall, farmland is not just there to provide a pretty view to the Chipping Norton set!

The other application that you might have missed was Great Ormand Street Hospital (GOSH), that had an application for a regeneration of their facility in Bloomsbury. The hospital (of not just national, but international importance) put in an application to replace the existing higgledy-piggledy old buildings with a new state-of-the-art hospital, increasing the bulk and height by quite some margin.

The local residents rose as one person against the proposals and ran an extensive campaign against the hospital (called “Oh GOSH no!”). At the planning committee in Camden Town Hall, a large group showed up to protest against the application and try and convince the Committee to refuse permission. Now – I don’t want to be funny – but what Planning Committee in their right minds would have refused permission for a Children’s Hospital?

I happen to live very close to GOSH (in a rented flat, I can’t afford to buy), and yes, there will be articulated lorries for years trundling down our streets and yes, there will be a much bigger building next to a conservation area but… sometimes the good of the many should outweigh the concerns of the few.

So, let’s focus on the ‘good for the many’ who are locked out of the housing market!

Let’s be YIMBYs!

Until next week,