Monday, 31 March 2008

Road to Perdition


The Roman Gartree Road is scored straight across south east Leicestershire, sometimes city street, sometimes country lane, more often than not just an ancient trackway between ash and beech, the haunt of owl and fox. It bypasses the Strettons (on the 'street')- Little Stretton, the largest of the two, of course, and Great Stretton, of which virtually all that remains is this little church out in the fields. It makes up for it by being the photograph on the cover of W.G.Hoskins' Leicestershire: The History of the Landscape.

But these acres are now under a threat that would make Hoskins revolve in his grave; but that perhaps would gain immediate grape-eating approval from the Romans. Dev the Developer can't wait to bend the newly-revised planning laws in order to turn this landscape, much of which is a truely-green enclave of Leicester itself, into what is oxymoronically called an 'eco-city'. In this case one the size of Hinckley in the same county. The idea pretends to cash-in on the environmental bandwagon, claiming the desire to build 'green' houses on already richly-green pastureland. We all know that this is a lie, greed dressed-up in eco clothes. The Government, so called, will fall over their miserable ill-thought out commitments to let it happen, intent as they are to ritually destroy the English countryside. But who is selling all this land, in one go, so that Dev doesn't have to spend decades buying it up? None other than the Co-Op. Yes, the 'caring sharing Co-Op' who once used these pastoral acres to graze cattle that supplied milk to their shops. Hang on a minute. Isn't this the Co-Op that was formed in Rochdale to benefit all of us? Apparently not.

42 comments:

Chris Wild said...

I appreciate that the government views all things from a utilitarian point of view, but when it comes to open country, then - as my mother used to say to me about my pocket money - when its gone its gone.

Economic growth can only get you so far. I have always found simplicity and contentment far more conducive to happiness. But maybe that's just me.

Toby Savage said...

Trouble is Peter, where does it end. I can only console myself with the certain knowledge that 120 years ago they were saying the same thing about Clarendon Park Leicester. 'Mud huts!! whatever is wrong with caves'. We're all doomed Capt. Main-Waring.

Peter Ashley said...

Clarendon Park was needed for the rapidly-expanding industrial city of Leicester. I'm sure there were Farmer Savages waving their hay-rakes at the steam excavators, but be absolutely certain, the Stoughton City is simply not required, no matter who says otherwise. It is only about greed. Look what David Wilson and his homely labrador are doing to Kibworth.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I'll join you with my pitch fork when you take to the lanes in protest.

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

Eco-city? So that'll be recycled yurts and long-drop earth closets - and not dozens and dozens of GeorgVictorBethan divorce boxes with a bit of extra wadding in the loft, and a compost bin behind the garage with the Mondeo in it.

Diplomat said...

good pics - just in time, well done, carry on, marvelous.

Diplomat said...

mind you pete, just think what it'd do for trade at the fox&goose. They'd be able to clean the place up a bit, brick in that coal fire and install a clean new glass fronted gas jobby. The street'll be chocker with porkers and mazzers and the cries of "waiter another bottle of that charming Chilean Malbec when you've a second..." will fill the sky. Fine young eastern european bar staff managed by a South African queen will be able to tell us to have a nice day whilst they promote sensible drinking. Ron'll be able to visit from Eourope and we can show him how we do it over here.Bring it on.

Toby Savage said...

Anyway, it was the bloody Industrial Revolution that started the whole ghastly mess anyway. Fact is we are no longer farmers. We're all Marketing Executives, marketing a product that's made in China, a country that couldn't give a monkeys about any environment. I give up. Ron's cleary illustrated, by a separate email, that what I've spend on booze in the last 40 years I could have spent on 0.72's worth of a Ferrari. Mine's a pint.

Peter Ashley said...

I go by Viv Stanshall' maxim: "If I had all the money again I've spent on booze, I'd spend it all on booze".

Ron Combo said...

I can feel an aircraft carrier moment coming on.

Peter Ashley said...

Tee hee. Tell everyone Ron. Particularly as I tried it on with a tax inspector at my accountants. (Those were the days- having an accountant. Ho Hum.)

Jon Dudley said...

Aircraft carriers - do tell us please. Viv Stanshall and The Bonzos at Sussex University 1968 I hardly remember anything about it except for Legs Larry Smith wearing unfeasibly large false breasts over his t-shirt. Developers of large scale 'Green' projects - hmmm - did you hear Tony Benn's boy going on about the 3 million homes which 'need' to be built in Britain this morning?...sorry that sounds like they'll build another 3 million after lunch. And all of 'em eco-friendly. Ha!

Peter Ashley said...

In days gone by, we once discussed how much we'd had to drink by imagining every single glass we'd drunk alcohol from placed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Every pint, every unfortunate advocaat. One us thought we must be onto a second carrier, but Ron Combo and I thought about it a little more rationally and said that even if it was the USS Nemitz then we were probably a only third of the way down. Mind you, this conversation was in 1987.

Peter Ashley said...

So, 'Pennbury', as we must now call these cow pastures, makes it to Caroline Flint's short list of eco-cities. How can anyone as fit as her not have the intelligence to match?

Toby Savage said...

Mousing around I have found that there is quite a big movement against this already.

The details of the development are here:
http://www.save-england.net/

and there is a petition here: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/PennburyEcoTown/

I have signed, so that'll stop it!

Peter Ashley said...

Good boy Toby. I've left my name at 10 Downing Street, so Gordon's now running around tearing his hair out.

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