The decision by B&HCC planning committee last Wednesday to give the all clear to B&HCC to wreck The Level came and went much like the tide: as expected. The weaselly Ian Davey was substituted as requested, which at least meant the public didn’t have to endure his rictus grin, but it was a pyrrhic victory – the replacement Green just voted yes anyway.
And so the farce began, with the Skaters rep giving his 3 minute pitch as to why concreting over The Level was the only way to go, followed by a 3 minute silence in the public gallery while the spectators wondered where Friends of The Level had got to.
Next act – the poor council planner, Claire, stumbling through the motions of describing the well-worn mantra extolling the virtues of the council’s plan. The petulant Chair, Charles Hawtree, then opened the floor to a sad and limp selection of Questions from a few of the opposition members. Questions that nevertheless caused much head-scratching from the planning officers, thereby affording the opportunity to the petulant Chair, Charles Hawtree, to tell The Parks Project Team “to come on down” and have their say. This gave the ferret Iam Bonkers and Mother Anglin the floor to dissemble a while and have a last pitch, much to the satisfaction of all councillors present.
[The draft minutes make no mention of this incursion from the PPT. Maybe they shouldn’t have made such an appearance, surely all questions should have been directed to the planning officer. Should the PPT really be given unlimited bites at The Level? We should be told. Ed.]
And then on to The Debate – the opportunity for the Greens to spiel inaccuracies and equivocate, the Opposition to wring a few hands. Short and sweet, but hell, they all knew what was coming: The Vote. All five Greens: YES! Mrs. Theobald, the dutiful wife of the Theobald responsible for giving the Skatepark Plan the go-ahead: YES! One Tory and one Labour who had been appointed as token opposition: NO! The remaining four: ABSTAIN! Thus the result could be counted a unanimous points decision in favour of what they’d all first thought of: the skatepark built on the north with the faux Bertie’s Bits in the south. No shock horror, then, given that the time to get the plan changed was at the Full Council meeting last July, when not one opposition member spoke so much as one word against the HLF bid which necessitated the skatepark moving north. Further proof that local councillors rank even lower than the traffic wardens who pay their wages.