That leaves us with two options. You, I and the police could stay off the A361 and leave it solely to the nutcases, who would eventually kill each other off, leaving the entire human race descended from the superior genes of you, me and the editor – this is the Darwin solution.
Another objection is that we should not be encouraging more road traffic. Instead, we should be encouraging the use of the railways and so should build more rail connections. Personally, I like that idea. I have a dream of a monorail connecting Ilfracombe with Barnstaple or even Tiverton or Taunton. However, I think that, too, is unrealistic. Brian Greenslade would like to improve the Tarka Line. While that may make the journey between Barnstaple and Exeter better, it would do nothing for the A361. Tony Olsson’s scheme of reinstating the Barnstaple-Taunton rail link is better, but is unlikely ever to happen. The truth of the matter is that rail travel in Britain is too expensive compared to the cost of road. No government would ever dare to be too obvious about changing that and so, if it were to change, it would take a very long time of accumulated small changes. What is more, in the decades since Beeching decimated the railway system, we have become accustomed to using cars even for long journeys, and I don’t think we would stop now even if rail were suddenly to improve. If ever I stumble across a time machine, be assured that the very first thing I will do is go back in time and tell Dr Beeching what a mistake was his ill-advised report.
I wrote a couple of months ago about an elderly lady who had received notice that a mobile phone mast was to be erected right outside her house. Sad to say that, even though Ilfracombe Town Council recommended the scheme be rejected, the District Council approved it. The lady’s two main concerns were, I believe, that the mast would reduce the value of her home and that its proximity, remembering that she would be at home most of the time, could have adverse health implications. Apparently, neither of these factors is allowed to be taken into account.
Planning is always a difficult problem and the siting of mobile phone masts more difficult than most. We all want a good mobile signal, so the question is how much are we prepared to sacrifice to obtain one. In most cases, of course, the question resolves to “how much are we prepared to force some other poor sod to sacrifice”. However, even if a particular planning application does not affect you, it is worth making sure that it is dealt with fairly, since it could be you next time.
I have thought for some time that planning laws seem to have developed in a way that favours commercial interests, at the expense of local interests. It seems to me that there is at least one thing that could be done to make the playing field more equal. If, as with the mast, a planning application, if granted, would result in those nearby suffering a financial loss (as in a reduction in the value of their property), the applicant should recompense them for their loss. This would not solve all of the inequalities but would ensure that commercial interests would not profit at the expense of individuals.
What do you think?
Meanwhile, this does nothing for the unfortunate lady outside whose house the mobile mast is to be erected. Surely there are better places to locate it!
At the weekend, I went to the Devon Street Food Festival with two of my daughters and my grandsons.
We took our food to Landmark Green so that my grandson could play on the bouncy castles. The Landmark Café seemed to be quite busy. Do you remember the good old days when it was the Landmark Theatre?