I spent most of day, the other week, at a planning meeting at South Norfolk District Council in support of a planning application part of which would supply a community with a much needed parish centre.
The proposal supported by the majority of residents and district councillor Jenny Wilby, was that the community of Scole Parish would have almost half the cost of building the centre, plus the land, donated by the landowner as part of a development of 18 new homes in the centre of the village.
There are no sites in Scole within the development boundary where an affordable parish centre could be located, the only option is to build on land outside the boundary. New homes are needed, good sized family homes in Scole centre, some allotments and a memorial garden for community use. The church would benefit from nearby function rooms, extra parking, and the memorial gardens, giving them an improved view.
But it was refused because greater emphasis and importance has been given to the views from a listed building, the church; the from the A140 of the listed building and harm to a conservation area which is an over grown derelict piece of land full of nettles and fly tipping in the middle of the village surrounded by roads and buildings but deemed “open countryside”.
We elect councillors to represent our best interests but these were not served at the meeting. Policies and procedures at local government level must be flexible to suit the needs of communities or they only serve themselves, they are not protecting everyone’s interests but creating barriers which are almost insurmountable by normal folk.
Councillors must be made to serve the people not the institution.
The Scole Parish have been badly let down.