From Rugby to Rip Off

Loyal readers may have been somewhat perturbed at the sudden lack of posts over past days although perhaps for many it came as a welcome relief.

I have in fact been on a rugby tour all the way to the Isle of Wight with my son's team and a very arduous, though enjoyable,  few days it was too.

My boy is very fortunate. He goes to a school with decent sports facilities and lives in an area with decent community facilities. Sadly, this is not true for all children, especially after the debacle of the selling of school playing fields over the last 30 years, which is one of the greatest scandals of our lifetimes. That one or two county councillors can get together and make decisions that impact generations forever is nothing short of outrageous but they have and continue so to do.

I'm thinking for example, of the children at Burhill Infants School in Hersham, Surrey. The local Elmbridge Council decided in 2002 that land adjacent to the school was surplus to requirement and promptly sold them off. This, despite objections from residents, local councillors and the headmistress of the school. Unfortunately for the pupils and local residents, the company that they unwittingly sold to was a front for some Travellers who promptly moved onto the site with, quelle surprise, no planning permission.

They're still there and seem to be quite successful in spinning said local council in knots with racial equality, health, homelessness and education issues. Obviously, you might be forgiven for assuming that it's quite wrong to buy land under false pretences and then drive a coach and horses through planning laws to build on green belt land beside a school. Well, it is quite wrong; unless you happen to be a government inspector hearing an appeal; "Planning inspector Susan Heywood admitted that the caravans did harm the openness of the green belt but said the impact was outweighed by the importance of the gipsies’ human rights."

So there you have it, itinerant Irish travellers have more human rights than nursery school children.

No doubt the school children are getting a whole new lesson in bio diversity though.

In an unusual attack of conscience the councillors decided to build a high wall between the now smaller school playground and the gypsy camp.

Sold field for £40,000

Cost of wall £60,000

One can only speculate on what the legal costs since the gypsy's moved in amount to.

It's not just Westminster that urgently needs reform.