Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Many people know that Beatrix Potter had an intimate association with our area - though I personally cant remember for the life of me what it was. It only emerged at about the time of her biopic, at a time when local news was somewhat thin on the ground.
What is less well known is that claims have been made that a sequel has been discovered (pages 23-97)- an until recently undiscovered sequel to her internatially (spelling courtesy of Cllr "roadmunkey") acclaimed work about a frog, "Jeremy Fisher".
Apparently and quite strangely, it represents a departure for Ms Potter being less overtly about homely Lake District animals, and mystifyingly more about a "deregulatory approach to town planning and road proposals in this other area that meant so much to her".
In the sequel an ambitous town planning frog manages to land a plum chief job in his Planning Department due to the very sudden departure of his predecessor. Cue all kinds of relaxations on planning applications. Retrospective permissions become the rule, and erstwhile public land slips into the hands of private ownership by laws of adverse possession. Short of putting a sign up on the byeways, such as "Cowboy developers welcome in this town", the message generally gets across to those who need it, and cranes and concrete block prefabs pile up in the sight of conservation areas.
Interestingly at Public Inquiry into the road the frog shows a keen interest in sustainable transport, suggesting that he has copying tricks off his chameleon like neighbours. But never fear, his flagship employment zone, far from being the town's new "information park" as claimed, is more or less simply a massive distribution centre, dependent on a bypass, and carrying no threat of being labour intensive. That would be too tedious after all, to actually deliver any kind of sustainable development is after all much too boring for a frog. So all the people who actually came to the town, can proceed with their very full intention of continuing to commute to work as a chosen lifestyle. They will find little in the flagship zone to distract them from their usual employment pattern.
At public inquiry into road proposals, these principles are encapsulated when said frog describes "conditions laid down for granting the road" as not being workable and making no sense, and suggests coyly to the Inspector that in the interests of the applicant they can be overlooked. But protests the ever conscientious and highly independent Inspector, "they are conditions, how can you overlook them", or words to that effect.
Oh well we will just strike them out, is the essence of the reply. They dont make any sense to us anyway, adds the amphibian, forgetting in passing that he himself signed the very conditions he now describes as unimposable and making no sense.
One wonders on the wisdom of such frogs being in positions of responsibility and their fitness for office.