Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 15:08

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South
Chairman of Policy & Scrutiny Committee for Adult Social Care & Health Committee

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SUNNYSIDE

PALLANCE LANE

NORTHWOOD

PO31 8LT
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Tel: 07918 757843

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Email: cllr.john.nicholson@btconnect.com

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See the I.W. Councillor’s section

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WARD REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2018

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The Report appearing in the October 2018 edition of Northwood News:

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Have Your Say in Making Sense
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There are lots of consultations out, and coming out, about Planning, about Regeneration, about Health, Policing, you name it. The wheel is turning from we know best centralisation towards perhaps you know best localisation – well maybe just pointing in that direction rather than actually going there (yet, at least). But, in doing so it shows that someone, somewhere does recognise that communities, and people that make up those communities, do matter and have opinions and have knowhow about their own environments.
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One of the areas where this is most apparently lagging, and for which there is a pending consultation – so watch out for it – is Planning. It could not be clearer that at the meeting to discuss the Application for a new estate off Newport Road, just south of Oxford Street, outside the development boundary – adjacent to, but outside – that the local population, en-masse, do not want it! The crowds attending the meeting of the local Parish Planning Committee, were so great that they extended outside the rear door to the Village Hall.
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There are lots of good arguments for not allowing this development, but the one that stands out for me, for its nonsensical, Alice in Wonderland logic, is that our bizarre Planning Policy allows extensive development beyond the Red Line (the Development Line). In this case, the furthest dwelling is some 200 meters away from it! – What? This ridiculous anomaly is quite unique to the Isle of Wight, when you look around at what other Authorities do. It was, apparently, pushed through because we were desperate to encourage housing development, but why did we not just move the line? This bizarre rule quite clearly allows disproportionate extension beyond the set development line and is quite plainly nuts! It is quite novel, your Planning, said one mainland architect to me, we don’t have anything like that on the mainland; rules mean what they say there. But, maybe this is the same logic that wanted to put a central distribution plant at one end of the Island on a route that regularly and demonstrably jams at the slightest traffic incident, when anyone who knows the faintest thing about geometry or mechanics, knows that a hub always works best if it is centrally located. Maybe it is the same logic that commissions a design for a public vessel that is not properly thought through and does not do what it says on the tin; just like our development lines. Maybe by accepting all this nonsense we have all fallen down the Rabbit Hole, and it is time to wake up and say, this is not real, or, at least, not the reality that we will continue to accept and tell these consultations just what we want, some plain common sense, in plain crystal mark English! Let’s start doing what we say and saying what we do.
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It’s Not Just Local Government
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At least local government on the Isle of Wight is aware and is now trying to address the issues that face us in a wider more considerate and consultative way, but the central government quangos are nowhere near doing this. One illustration of how absurd their display of arrogance can be was that time that the HCA bolted down the barriers that they wanted to place along the pavement in Seaview Road, because they kept blowing over. The reason they wanted barriers there in the first place was because they had determined, in whatever Rabbit Hole they had fallen down, that a pavement, with which there was little wrong, needed remaking; accusing, quite aggressively, anyone who dared question them that they didn’t know what they were talking about, that they (the HCA) were the experts and their version of the truth was the truth. A few weeks later, the pavement resurfaced, it started sprouting small green chutes, all through the new tarmac – remember the headline article in the County Press, by the now gone (and much missed) Richard Wright – Ministry of Silly Walks!
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Well, they are still at it! Not the HCA this time, but the local boundary commission, or whatever they call themselves. It is sensible and understandable that every so often Ward boundaries need to be rebalanced; we accept that, as we know things do change. We have some Wards grown too large or too small, and there are other changes that need to be addressed and balanced out. To help in this, one of our most experienced Councillors, with Council staff, spent some time just doing that, rebalancing, taking into consideration place identities, sensitivities, historic and cultural nuances. Most people said that they did an excellent job. But, their submission was disregarded by the quango, who then produced, for the most part (Northwood was unaffected in either case), a new Ward map that places Lake station in Shanklin and Shanklin Station in Lake and made some Wards unrecognisable to their geographical name. In fact, it is so bizarre that it looks like, and makes as much sense as, the sort of Ward map someone might produce after they had had a good session up the pub! But, we are, as with the Planning Red Lines, expected and bound to take such nonsense seriously, by people who, if they are serious in their assertion, I could only regard as suffering from Dunning Kruger syndrome!

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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