Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Giant hoopla - the new Olympic sport?

FINALLY someone has come up with a useful idea for the awful “car boot” sculpture at Littlemoor.

The work, which spent £335,000 putting some rocks on metal poles, claims to depict birds in flight or a shoal of fish but it has been pilloried nationally as “waste on an Olympian scale”.

Now there may have to be a change of view because it can no longer be described as a total waste after a councillor came up with a great idea for its use.

He and colleagues on the planning committee had just finished heaping criticism on another less than world-beating “legacy” for Olympic year.

This involved taking sections of old “sewer pipe”, colouring them, sticking some wood in for seating and information areas and touting them as wonderful viewing points ideally designed for ruining some of Weymouth and Portland’s most beautiful and historic areas.

Common sense prevailed and the scheme was thrown out, but not before a councillor suggested a way of giving the sewer pipes a more useful new lease of life in tandem with the sculpture.

He wondered if, in Games year, it might be possible to create an Olympic-sized hoopla challenge where attempts were made to toss the sewer pipes over pegs created by Littlemoor’s rocks-on-poles.

I think this is a wonderful idea and clearly a win-win situation.

If it works then two useless schemes will actually provide entertainment and if it doesn’t work then – with luck – they’ll destroy each other.

Light sabres on the foreshore

A LONG time ago in a galaxy far, far away Weymouth and Portland was wondering how it could send a ray of hope out proclaiming a New Freedom against the evil Empire of Recession.

So the borough thought long and hard and, with a devastating swish of its seafront regeneration sword, came up with...laser lights!

These futuristic creations will send coloured beams of light out to sea or into the sky from columns along the Esplanade showing that businesses may be closing down, jobs may be being lost but the town can still shine a light in dark side places.

Never mind mutterings of rebellion about “bring back the fairy lights”. These unwelcome comments were brushed aside by replies that the old lights were in poor condition and much more expensive to run.

So we can now all look forward to nights filled with lights spectacularly lighting up a legacy rejuvenated and regenerated Weymouth.

Impressive, most impressive.......but let’s hope they have enough shillings for the meter.

What point in public consultation if decisions have already been made?

ANYONE who has enjoyed the green and pleasant spaces of Weymouth’s Markham and Little Francis area will be feeling a bit liverish at the moment.

That is because a last minute tweak to suggestions contained in the draft Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset Plan saw it go out to public consultation not with its original suggestion for 200 homes to be built on part of the site with a nature reserve for the rest but for a whopping great 500 homes.

We’ll draw a veil over the bewildered expressions on some councillors faces, their obvious uncertainty at the time over exactly what they had just narrowly voted 5-3 for and the sight of other faces stunned with disbelief.

I want to concentrate on the arguments trotted out to justify this massive hike in housing.

Essentially some councillors felt that the way new housing was being allocated at the expense of Littlemoor and Redlands was “disproportionate” and that by increasing possible new housing at Markham and Little Francis it would even things out a bit.

All well and good even if the proposed housing increases at Littlemoor and Redlands are linked to large nearby employment areas. I don’t have a problem with public consultation showing that increasing housing at Markham is fair, right and acceptable.

What I have a massive problem with – and so did several members of the council’s management committee – is changing the allocation before public consultation.

Some members were quite right to point out that any change should be the view of several thousand people not eight councillors sat round a committee table.

Worse, now this proposed increase to 500 homes is potentially enshrined in the draft plan it will be much harder to shift than if the plan had gone out with 200 homes and people had been asked for their views on an increase to 500.

Nothing like getting your kicks in early and it will be interesting to see how people who use Markham and Little Francis or live near it react to this proposal. I think the reaction of developers can already be guessed at.

Haka dance?

ALMOST the entire group in the pub suddenly leapt into the air and began to hastily brush off clothing on their backs.

Spectators might have been forgiven for thinking that this was some version of rugby’s famous haka war dance bearing in mind that this was a group of rugby supporters staying overnight in Weymouth after watching a match.

Not a bit of it. This was pure fear, fear that one of them might have had a peg attached to their clothing where they couldn’t see it.

Apparently anyone caught out after a three second warning had to drink their pint on the spot, hence the leaping about and hasty brushing to knock off any peg.....and they say that culture is dead.


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