Monday, 30 April 2012

The Super Dairy goes before Planning 17.04.12

The Archers Tuesday 17th April 2012
  • All go at Brookfield
  • Hattie Marshall speaks for everyone
  • Odds against
  • Linda at the back and quiet!?!
  • The Environment Agency don’t care for deadlines
  • Appalling Planning Officer
  • The Councillors make a decision
  • Pat and Brian, both confident
All go at Brookfield

The slurry tank foundations are going down at Brookfield

The badgers will be irritated. But bets on they’ll find a way to climb …

Hattie Marshall speaks for everyone

Well, all those who oppose the Super Dairy.

(I thought she sounded, very suspiciously, like Kirsty)

At the Planning meeting, Hattie gets to make a statement on behalf of the anti-lobby.

[Hattie] “The problem with milk is the farm gate price. Ordinary farmers are being paid less than the cost of production. And units like this, whose stated aim is to drive down costs, will simply compound the problem and force conventional dairy farmers out of business … We face the real prospect of cows in the fields disappearing from our countryside, they’ll all be in vast industrial complexes like the one proposed here. Now, BL would have us believe that cows prefer to be indoors, lolling about on sand, rather than out in the fields grazing. Would they, I wonder, argue that because children prefer lolling about on sofas watching television, it’s better for them than to be outside playing?”

(ooh – that’s a bit of a rubbish argument, in my humble opinion)

[Hattie] “So, let us turn to the environmental consequences … (interrupted) I will refrain from voicing my criticism of the aesthetic appeal of the building, we can all recognise an eyesore when we see one”

Hattie’s speech sounded very long (though we didn’t have to sit through it all). The Chair (Townsend) had a hard time pushing her on. She also talked about the strong chance of Ammonia and nitrogen oxygen emissions – potential accidents causing environmental disaster – concerns about:

[Hattie] “the future of countryside, the future of British Farming, and indeed the planet!”

[Pat] “Have you seen Brian’s face?”

[Ruth] “He looks really fed up, doesn’t he!”

Odds against

Brian was very chummy with Councillor Townsend. Seems they bonded over the planning for the Mart.

Townsend also doesn’t sound like one to tolerate ‘lefties’.

[Townsend] “And who are this lot?”

[Brian] “I’m afraid our opponents have sent out a three line whip”

[Townsend] “Planning meetings aren’t usually so popular”

[Brian] “They could be a bit hostile, I’m afraid”

[Townsend] “Don’t worry. Any trouble, I’ll clear the public gallery”

As Pat and Ruth later discussed:

[Pat] “He and Brian got to be very matey during the planning stages of the market …”

[Ruth] “So much for the impartiality of the Chair”


Lynda at the back and quiet!?!

What on earth?

Though  Lynda was at the Planning meeting, not a peep.

Quite bizarre.

Actually, Kirsty and Brenda were also there. But silent.

It was only Pat and Ruth (of the Ambridge residents) who uttered a word. Though Pat really did make up for everyone …

The Environment Agency don’t care for deadlines

Their report hadn’t arrived before the planning meeting.

Their report hadn’t arrived during the planning meeting.

And their report hadn’t arrived by the end of the meeting.

Which left the decision at the mercy of the …

Appalling Planning Officer

What is it with some Council officials and their overinflated sense of importance and intelligence?

The Planning Officer was an awful person.

He approved the application, which is no bad thing in itself.

But then proceeded to interrupt Councillors (elected officials!) to correct their opinions.

Their opinions, mind. Which is the entire point of the Council process.

The officers make their recommendations. As do other experts. The Councillors debate. And a consensus is formed (or not, but either way at least all opinions are heard).

This particular Planning Officer had decided that the Super Dairy should go ahead, and didn’t want to hear anything against it.

Nasty little man.

The Councillors make a decision

Or not. As is apt to happen at Councils.

Esther Sutton was the first Councillor to speak. She almost broke out in a rendition of Jerusalem – that she’d been on the Council for over 20 years, “rural England as its finest and picturesque”, that she was at first appalled about the prospect of a Super Dairy, but after studying the information she’d changed her mind. Esther had decided that in 2012, during a recession, the priorities should be jobs and investment.

[Pat, shouting out] “What about all the conventional dairy farmers whose jobs will disappear?”

[Martin Sykes, a Councillor] “You’ve been taken in by the hype Esther!”

[Ruth] “If you met her in the street you’d put her down as a real countrywoman”

Martin Sykes then waded back in. He has that is Esther couldn’t see the reality of the Super Dairy, she needed her eyes tested (oo-er!). And that the DVD Brian was so proud of was:

[Martin Sykes] “A little fantasy production … as Postman Pat does to the Royal Mail …  a blatant piece of greenwash”

Hah! Hope someone tells PR guru Rufus that he didn’t win them all over.

Anyhoo – because of the lack of the Environment Agency report – the chairperson (Brian’s lackey) decided that they’d have to vote on whether they delay their decision … and hand it over to that nasty we Planning Officer! The vote went for that way forward, which means the Planning Officer gets to decide whether Ambridge gets a Super Dairy.


Pat and Brian, both confident
Though dealt a blow, Pat thinks the battle is far from lost. She thinks it’s not a done deal, and that the Environment Agency won’t ever pass the Super Dairy.

[Pat] “They know it’s a really dodgy proposition”

But Brian is just as positive. He even makes a beeline for the media to make a statement on the radio.

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