Why planning policy is like #WW1 #LestWeForget

Why planning policy is like #WW1 #LestWeForget

 

I like to read Twitter. It’s a great source of news. Better than Facebook, which is very inward looking and often tries to guess what you’re thinking. You do, to some extent, get news from Twitter, though it’s best to find and follow the right people.

 

A hashtag I often see at the moment is #WorseThanBeeching. Now Beeching was the analyst type that carved up the railways. He’s very famous. But I think we’re talking about social engineering here.

 

I may have watched completely the wrong history programme here, but I understand he was a bean counter who would see how many people were waiting for a train and then record it. Like a secret shopper perhaps. And if he went to the wrong station at the wrong time, poof. Like a secret shopper on acid if he didn’t get to you at the right time.

 

We’re still trying to correct the mistakes of Beeching. Building a new station at Ilkeston, for example.

 

Places with train stations have become terribly genteel, it seems, unless you’re in London and that’s a whole different ball game.

 

Belper, for example, is a victim of Beeching. It has a train station and I believe you can mosey up to Matlock or even get to London, if you change at Derby. I’ve never tried it. Have you ever tried to drive to Belper? It goes on for ever. I only go there midday.

 

For me, Belper is interesting. Really really cutesy centre, lots of Chelsea tractors and backward facing car seats. (I didn’t even realise that was a thing.) Signs saying you can’t wee in the coffee shop unless you buy a coffee. You can do baby sign and baby step and baby karate and everything there. (I may have made that bit up.)

 

But it’s also a sprawling mess of planning. It’s gradually being joined up to places like Heage, Bargate and Kilburn because it’s a victim of its own success: it has a train station. It has become desirable, because of this Beeching chappy we’re talking about.

 

When I started campaigning, the cries from the Tories were all about ‘well what about Belper?’ Yeah. Right I get you. I found the centre of Heage a couple of weeks ago trying to get from Belper School to my IT tech. It’s a planning disaster.

 

But why, you say, is planning policy like #WW1?

 

Because they are building on our green lungs (so people are dying due to traffic pollution)

Because they are building on our fields where children used to play (they are now more likely to be kept inside – lack of Vitamin D etc etc)

Because they are making other areas flooded…or just building on a flood plain and going ‘flood plain? Really? Oops.’ (Then someone has a nightmare to sort out – generally the public sector.)

 

Which land will you sacrifice for your children and your children’s children? I’m guessing it’s not your back garden unless you’re desperate.

So developers:

 

  1. Make sure all your brownfield sites are built on first – this includes you supermarkets.
  2. Make sure all empty houses are filled.
  3. Old people sometimes need to live in smaller homes so build some bungalows too.
  4. Make sure your ‘social housing’ is big enough to swing a cat in.
  5. Insulate your homes properly.
  6. And stop making gardens smaller and smaller and smaller until they’re no bigger than a postage stamp, or a back yard, unless you’re rich and can get round planning legislation.

 

 

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Another Grandma Poem – Queen of Cakes –#amwriting

002I am currently very interested in the therapeutic aspects of creative writing, which is a good thing as I’ve been selected by Derbyshire County Council for an Arts Council and DCC funded project to deliver writing sessions in the community. Called writing ambitions: Derbyshire Residencies, the scheme includes five training sessions and mentoring by Cathy Grindrod. I am really looking forward to exploring therapeutic writing (though all writing is, of course, therapeutic) and helping my chosen community group to find their voice.

Here’s a poem that came out of a writing session at Ripley Writers’ Group, though I had already done some prep work for it. It was using things that remind you of people as a stimulus, so I chose my grandma’s button box. I do not think that this is finished, but it shows what can happen with a good creative exercise.

 

Queen of Cakes

Who knew when you weren’t baking

You were knitting together your family?

Captive every Saturday morning for the market then the Co-op,

Sunday for cakes, scones and your life story.

Melting moments.

 

Cousins under the dining table

Trying to find patterns, matches

From buttons harvested from clothes over years.

 

Queen of cardigans

Your dress code was sweater.

Your currency buttons

You knew what to press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Journey To Publication by Elli Woollard – this is brilliant! 

Publication, publication; that’s your final destination. Think of words you want to say, then stare at Twitter half the day. Publication, publication. Leave aside procrastination! Write your socks …

Source: The Journey To Publication by Elli Woollard

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Review of Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs

img_0004I can’t wait to read the second instalment of this trilogy. I am still thinking about the characters and the hard life they led on Mars, trying to grow enough to eat, like early settlers in the United States. And then their journey away from their initial homestead and all that happens there.
I felt unsettled and spooked out early on reading this – it seemed fitting to finish it on Halloween. It wasn’t a cosy read, though it seemed to get cosier when I understood more about what was happening in the world. Because of this, it’s not a YA book I would introduce to a middle grade reader or younger, but I would be pleased to recommend it to readers aged 12 or older. It’s an interesting and thought-provoking read about the nature of people, academia and civilisation itself.
I own many of Paul Magrs’s books and I think this is one of the best. I’m excited by the potential of the YA space novel and wonder what new level Paul will take it to, a pioneer in this genre as the settlers are pioneers on Mars.

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Mother – a poem #amwriting

amber-valley-20130123-00467Mother

The buzzards are circling your heart

Diggers rip your stomach

Turn your soil

They cut your trees because they could

Ancient oak and ash hacked away

Their remains a stubby finger stuck up to the people

But still you host the magpies as they tell their joy

Sparrows grub, hedgehogs hide and robins keep abreast

Bats track the night sky

Dogs and owners brush your long grass

But how long will that last?

(c) Rebecca Deans 2016

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Everything in the Garden is Rosy

IMG_2152I write this in response to my friend Anna commenting on how full my garden looked last Thursday, and because of our conversation about how the world of Facebook is fake, or on the edge.

 

Everything in the Garden is Rosy

 

That full garden

The brassicas were reduced to skeletons the next day by cabbage white butterflies

The sunflower couldn’t be bothered, neither could the sun

The strawberries flowered but didn’t fruit

The beans never climbed

The poppies grew in the cracks of the patio, but not in the wildflower garden

We’re still the only place growing healthy ash trees, but not in the hedges

The rocket didn’t

The mint in’t

But the sage thrives, we have yellow courgettes poking out everywhere

And the pumpkin might shock by October.

 

© Rebecca Deans 2016

 

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Hedgehog a poem for #hedgehogawarenessweek 

This week my Friday post is dedicated to the hedgehog, a disappearing species. I recently won a lovely bag on Twitter from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society packed full of goodies and it has opened my eyes to the threat that they face.

Hedgehogs were common on Codnor Common, less so since Peveril Homes put up the Heras fencing in an attempt to stop the village green application I am guessing.

You can find out more and donate here https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/bhps/hhaw16 and if you can do one thing, make a CD sized hole in your gates and fences so they can travel in and out of your garden.

Hedgehog
This metal prison hemmed me in.

I’m thin. I cannot get out to eat.

I used to be so spiky, sparkly, prickly

And all that malarkey

I used to slug slugs like there was no tomorrow.
Now I cower at the big tower

That popped up in the field like a flower

‘Cos I can’t use my secret power.

(C) Rebecca Deans 2016

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