The resistance to building is building. There’s now a national alliance, Community Voice on Planning. Here’s what’s currently centre-screen on their home page:
“Please don’t forget our DAY OF ACTION on 12 APRIL. The theme is ‘Listen to the People’s Voice on Planning’
This is a sample of some of the Events that we know of so far:
· Rural Oxfordshire Action Rally (ROAR) is calling all action groups, parish councils and residents to join them as they present a united front opposed to the senseless concreting over of green fields surrounding our towns, villages and hamlets in the name of economic progress. They held a rally in Witney on Saturday 24 January. Their next rally will be in Wantage and is hosted by the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group. It will take place on our day of Action 12 April. So if you are in the neighbourhood please join them at 11am.
· Save the Countryside has moved its annual walk from May to the shared date of 12th April. They are organising a 2 hour walk with refreshments around the perimeter of the green belt land area proposed for an estate of 4800 houses on the NW of Cheltenham.
· East Devon Alliance are holding a double funeral for Death of Democracy and Death of the Countryside with 2 coffins, speeches on national (NPPF) issues, District Council and Litany of contentious developments across the district, to be held in park outside District Council Offices at 3pm on Sunday 12 April. Groups with placards from across the district, petition etc.”
How revealing that all three examples are in Wessex, truly the front line in saving England from the octopus. A look through the list of CoVoP’s member organisations reveals many more gatherings of besieged and desperate local folk who can’t understand why localism doesn’t mean that locals get to decide.
Pressure groups are better than nothing, of course. But who are they lobbying? And why do they expect to be listened to? Are they corporate donors to party funds? Are they on the Minister’s Christmas card list?
Is it not all a waste of time, without a willingness to unseat the politicians responsible for the problem? Nothing will change in Wessex until all of the London parties are destroyed at the polls. We wish our countryside campaigners the very best of luck; we’re also ready to welcome them as members when, as sure as bricks follow corn, they lose the battle.