And sometimes you get bouquets

by Stephen Tall on January 24, 2007

Having posted a pretty jaundiced article here following the wrist-slitting tedium that goes by the name of Full Council on Monday, it’s only fair to say that Tuesday was indeed another day.

A three-hour area planning meeting may sound like most normal people’s idea of a living hell, but it focused on just one issue, of huge interest and concern to many of my residents in Headington and the wider city.

The Council’s planning officers gave clear presentations which neither patronised nor waffled; objectors and the applicants presented robust, measured arguments; councillors asked pertinent questions and restricted themselves to brief, to-the-point comments; and we consensually agreed a sensible way forward.* Now how often does all that happen in one meeting?

To cap it all, I’ve just received this appreciative e-mail:

I listened to your arguments last night and found them persuasive both by reason of logic and inherent good sense. It was reassuring to know that you are in touch with the deeply held and felt views of the local communities.

Indeed, like many residents, having been somewhat disheartened of late, I was impressed by the quality and understanding of the Councillors present last night. Whatever the outcome … I think that the quality of the local democracy, so much in evidence last night, was very reassuring, especially so when politics is viewed rather cynically by many.

Enough to make you feel all warm inside on an otherwise chilly day.

* I’ve assumed most blog readers will have little interest in the specific planning applications, which related to the Warneford Meadow in Oxford. But if you do, I’ve explained my views in full here.