1 Oct 2010

Meetings: allotments water, policy panels, Transition and more

OK this blog post will be all over the place - a chance to catch up on some of the meetings I've been to this last week...more a taster as have not had time to report properly....of course as always am happy to talk more if there is a particular issue....

Photo: Randwick sheep!

Policy Panels - well two panels this week - the first on Tuesday on the Core Strategy - this was to give info ahead of Cabinet on Thursday - it is worth looking at the papers - see here - they show how we will still face massive housing pressures in the District. More of that in the future...interestingly also at Cabinet (and in the papers - see link earlier) were recommendations regarding planning delegation. These do not follow the recommendations that the inquiry group I was part of - they remove the Parish's ability to automatically send an item to Development Control Committee if they object....I have already sent lengthy emails to both parishes this week to gain their views as it will come to Full Council soon. I wont go into the debate here but will do another blog in the future on this. In the meantime comments welcomed.

The second policy panel was on various energy measures that the Council have undertaken. SWEA presented the info - and one area of work I want to highlight here is the work they do with businesses that spend between 5k and 50k on heating....they have managed to cut bills by 30% so if you know a business that could benefit do contact them.

SWEA also talked lots about the Target 2050 houses - some of which featured in the recent Eco-Renovation Open Homes event. One of my questions was about the Feed-In tariffs and whether the Council should borrow £5m to take advantage of them. The answer was that there were opportunities - I did try and press the point with a twinkle in my eye - but the reality remains that if we are to take advantage we must act very quickly.

Transition Stroud AGM - all afternoon last Saturday we had a meeting to catch up on the year, elect new Directors etc - it was good to report and hear reports on the success of the Eco-Renovation Open Homes, the extension of Energy monitors, the Stroud Pound, Tripswitch and more. One of the new developments is a Heart and Soul group - this is to look at climate change from a different place...interestingly the week before I had been invited to a lecture in London: ‘Psychology and Climate Change: collective solutions to a global problem’ by Professor David Uzzell - the first appointed Professor of Environmental Psychology in the UK (2000).

I missed the lecture but was kindly sent a link to a website where it is available - he discusses how psychology can increase the effectiveness of current policies by ensuring messages are delivered in a way the public understands, interprets, engages with or responds to.

David is quoted saying; ‘A year ago it was possible to claim that climate change was largely an uncontested issue. The debate centred over what we can do about it. The limited success of Copenhagen 2009 and the rise in public scepticism has the potential to undo all the advances made in the last decade to raise public awareness and to promote sustainable lifestyles.’ See link: www.britac.ac.uk/events/2010/babps-climate.cfm

Randwick Parish Council was actually last week but managed to get there - it usually seems to clash with District Scrutiny meetings - anyhow they are still looking for one more Parish Councillor. See their website and download minutes here. I had a list of items to update that I had been working on including queries regarding planning applications.

Photos: 5 pics of installing the allotment water system

Allotment meeting - well I managed to get to the one this week in The Star and also a site meeting earlier to sort out our water supply - a gravity feed system that plot holders have put in. It seems to work really well.

Local meetings - two meets this last week regarding a local planning application and another issue about water drainage....indeed also reported other gulleys that got missed in the recent clean - delighted to see pot holes being filled locally but many seem to be missed.....see if you can do better - report here: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/20593

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