Friday, October 10, 2008

Tuppence prudently, fruitfully, frugally invested in the

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This clip from Mary Poppins seems strangely relevant to today's financial chaos (with Bristol City Council having £8 million in failed Icelandic banks for instance). Michael causes a run on the bank and so obviously was not convinced that his tuppence would be prudently, fruitfully, frugally invested in! Who can blame him! Try to read about green thinking on economics.

Vogons on Bristol City Council sell off Filwood Park

The sell-off of Filwood Park by the council is an apalling act ('They sold our park and didn't tell us', Bristol Evening Post front page, Oct 10). Its only fair that the council should stick by its own policy on green spaces. This is to draw up Area Green Space Plans through local consultation before doing anything with land. Such plans would determine issues of land quality and value, uses and any possible disposal/development.

I currently have an official complaint in to the council because they have an in-principle agreement to sell green space on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path to the so-called ‘cycle-houses’ developers without an Area Green Space Plan agreed beforehand. They seem to have a habit of doing this, having sold off Filwood Park! Are there other examples like this? As I write this I still have no formal reply from the council and the 15 working days I was told it would take are up!

The council said the sell-off of Filwood park was 'well advertised, with notices on lampposts...classified ads and public meetings'. This reminds me of the opening scenes of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, where Arthur Dent finds out that his house is to be demolished for a by-pass the day before the bulldozers turn up - the dialogue with Prosser (in charge of the bulldozing) then goes:

Mr Prosser said: "You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time you know."
"Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur. "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."
"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine month."
"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything."
"But the plans were on display ..."
"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."
"That's the display department."
"With a torch."
"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"
"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."
A cloud passed overhead. It cast a shadow over Arthur Dent as he lay propped up on his elbow in the cold mud. It cast a shadow over Arthur Dent's house. Mr Prosser frowned at it.
"It's not as if it's a particularly nice house," he said.
"I'm sorry, but I happen to like it."
"You'll like the bypass."
"Oh shut up," said Arthur Dent. "Shut up and go away, and take your bloody bypass with you. You haven't got a leg to stand on and you know it."
(see the clip on YouTube).

Rather than behave like the Vogons in the Hitchhikers Guide, building over green space after so-called consultation and information of a very poor standard...

"People of Earth, your attention please," a voice said, and it was wonderful. Wonderful perfect quadrophonic sound with distortion levels so low as to make a brave man weep."This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council," the voice continued. "As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less that two of your Earth minutes. Thank you." (see clip on YouTube)

...the council need to ensure people are getting the benefits of parks. In an urban area open, green spaces are vital to the quality of our lives, offering relief from the all too common congestion and other negative effects of development. There are self-evident leisure, recreational, entertainment, sporting and health benefits in open, green spaces. They are a way of connecting with and appreciating the natural world vital to wellbeing and to encouraging respect for nature. We sorely need this respect in order to build the green attitudes needed to fight extremely serious environmental (and thus security) threats.

Parks and green spaces provide key ecological and environmental function benefits. There is storm water drainage and thus flood protection, as the land soaks up, temporarily stores and then gradually releases rain. Green spaces take carbon dioxide from the air and thus help fight climate change (losing open space is thus as good as adding carbon to the air!). There is the provision of wildlife habitat and food supply, which aids biodiversity. Worth protecting and enhancing isn’t it!!