All the East Europeans I know, by the way, are hard working, prized for their people skills and intelligence and are a delightful part of the community. But then I'm biased. My best friend is from Serbia. We met at college in Cambridge when she was simultaneously engaged in a Masters degree in English and escaping the worst onslaughts of civil war. I was the first tourist to visit Banja Luka Tourist Information after all that. They almost did a little dance on the spot, they were so pleased. I have had an interesting and varied life and intend to carry on doing so. I hope that Eastern Europeans will always be a part of it. Come for tea if you are passing.
That, by the way, was a response to letters and comments on the Forest of Dean District Council's Planning Portal for the original application and appeal for Oakdale (search under Land South of Lakeside) and the current renewal of planning permission for Phase 2. All I have to say to that is, "Really?" Possibly, I will have more to say in the coming weeks. In the mean time, I thought we should ask the Stakeholders to take down their Iron Curtain and let us have the minutes of the secret meeting that took place a few weeks ago. We've heard nothing since. What would be really handy is for there to be some kind of effort to improve the image of Checkpoint Charlie, which stands between East Lydney and Oakdale and to put planting on the Oakdale roundabout to try and persuade people that even if they are terribly late for work, it's still not a good idea to pile into the side of a family car already on the roundabout when they arrive. It really isn't, but people keep trying it nevertheless. Funny though - the A48 safety committee said I was welcome to come and be a part of new initiatives along those lines but never got round to letting me know about meetings. I can see a theme coming on here.
I have also seen better children's playgrounds (much better actually) in Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) - better maintained, better equipped and better for children, so why not ask the children what they would like there. I think they could qualify as Stakeholders in that regard. I know that if Community Engagement at the FoDDC wlere still allowed to be involved in playground design that they would have a much better perspective on them than a city-based architect with no ties to this community or area. I think we are ticking the 'could do better' box here, but I also know all about austerity and the reason why Housing Associations are business focused. However, it is short sighted to not see beyond the immaculately kept lawns of the show homes to a few 100 yards away, where so much rubbish has been dumped by developers. It might have been us, but chances are that broken Herras fencing and breeze blocks did not originate from the good people around me.
'Broken windows effect' essay to follow. (Again.)