I have in mind writing a pantomime in 5 acts. Here is the draft ……
ACT I – FIRST HUMBUG
Once upon a time many moons ago when five traveller families wished their temporary residence on 4.7 hectares of green belt to be be made permanent, a certain councillor opposed this because that councillor was a “passionate defender of the green belt.”
Several moons later the same councillor opposed the recommendation of the Council Officers and voted to allow some 83 hectares of green belt to be developed as an exclusive golf course with luxury hotel and spa facilities.
ACT 2 – SECOND HUMBUG
When the application for the exclusive golf course was referred to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, as it was a departure from the approved development plan, our MP asked Mr Pickles not to call the application in for public enquiry. Mr Pickles agreed, saying that the issue “was not of national importance and should be considered locally.”
When the traveller families applied to take their application to appeal, our MP asked Mr Pickles to call the application in for public enquiry. Mr Pickles did so.
So five traveller families on 4.7 hectares really are of national importance but a 83 hectare exclusive golf club isn’t!
ACT 3 – THIRD HUMBUG
Mr Pickles said the five traveller families could not remain where they were permanently because their occupation of 4.7 hectares was causing “substantial harm to the green belt.”
Our wise councillors propose to create up to1000 dwellings on 23.8 hectares.
– 5 families on 4.7 hectares = substantial damage to the green belt.
– up to 1000 dwellings on 23.8 hectares = ???
ACT 4 – THE THREE SPIRITS
Like Mr Scrooge, the Mole Valley councillors are visited by three spirits. They are:
- the Ghost of Planning Past, who shows councillors the results of their past decisions;
- the Ghost of Planning Present, who shows the councillors the results of their current decisions and what people are saying about them;
- the Ghost of Planning To Come, who shows what substantial harm to the green belt really means.
Also like Mr scrooge, our councillors repent and are changed persons after their visitations. They call upon their fellow councillors in Reigate & Banstead, in Guildford Borough and, indeed, throughout Surrey to resist mounting pressure from the Government and from developers, crying:
“Hands off the green Belt! Enough is enough! Surrey is full!”