23rd November 2010
I sometimes despair about the amount of control and regulation within which we are obliged to operate. We live in a nanny state gone mad, where no one can do anything without a due process being followed, usually involving some governmental body who serve little purpose other than making jobs for the boys.
The object of my ire are the innocuous lock gates of Booth Lane Locks (69) on the Trent and Mersey just south of Middlewich.
The current gates are a splendid example of 1970's utility construction, made on a budget out of sheet steel and now nearing the end of their functional life. Gates wear out be they steel or wood, normally lasting 35 years or so and they are therefore a consumable item on the system, a bit like house windows or flat roofs which need replacing every few decades.
So, replacing gates is very much a business as usual activity, but did you know that BW are obliged to seek planning permission to replace scabby old steel gates with the more traditional alternative made out of EEnglish Oak? No? I didn't think you would.
Who, in their right mind, could possibly object to lock gates being reinstated in their classic format. And if this permission were to be refused what then - retain the existing gates in perpetuity?
Now I appreciate the need to planning controls or we would end up looking like Spain, but where is the common sense? Sure I need to be assured that my neighbour can't build what he liked right on my boundary, but do we really need a ponderous planning process to be wheeled into operation before a humble lock gate can be replaced, or a garage door for that matter.
I really resent this one size fits all mentality. BW is obstructed from their task of maintaining the system and are obliged to divert much needed resourced to seeking out pointless planning permissions. On the other side of the fence we are paying an army of civil servants to administer a pointless process, wasting yet more of our money. Surely in these cash strapped times we don't have the luxury of funds for this kind on nonsense.
So I will leave you with the planning permission notice sheet appended to the lock. Do you have any objection? Can you really imagine anyone else objecting?
Madness and lunacy!