The Big Eye: January 6, 2015

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If there is one group of people that I don’t envy, it is those who have ended up in planning departments.

Whether you’re part of a team trying to concoct a financial business plan or trying to design a town or county plan I cannot imagine where you start to cobble together all the elements requiring consideration.

We are now in 2015 and despite the electioneering waffle from the politicos, it is obvious that the coming year is only going to bring further cuts and downgraded services to us all as the Government continues to grapple ineffectively with the unstoppable financial meltdown.

We’ve all got used to the idea that we can no longer afford a decent health service or transport infrastructure and our national borders are leaking like a colander and we have no idea how many illegal immigrants are now living amongst us, but still we employ legions of planners to prepare systems and budgets to cope with these unknown realities.

It must be like herding cats trying to pin down ‘real’ numbers or predict world finances and consequently to expect some computer to generate projections for two, five or 20 years is both unreasonable and unrealistic.

The unforeseen collapse in the price of oil has caught everyone on the hop and although this staggering reduction might seem like a godsend for those who rely on heating oil to keep us warm, it has left a massive and unexpected black hole in Government revenues from the North Sea. We’ll suffer in the long run and although our short-term glee is unbounded you can expect a vicious claw-back somewhere else as George Osborne swiftly reverts to the standard financial option available to all Chancellors since time immemorial ... he’ll rob his country cousin Peter to pay Lord Paul!

We’re unable to divine the future and past history has proved this time-and-time-again so whether you’re number-crunching in Whitehall, or waving a pencil about in the planning offices in Lynn or Norwich, one thing is certain, you’ll have no more idea what the future holds than Mystic flippin’ Meg, and that is why we should all be more than wary when these so-called experts ask us how we’d like to see West Norfolk in 2038.

Are they out of their tiny minds?

The future is tumbling out before us and whether the planners rely upon rolling dice or Russian roulette to decide the future, I think most people, if asked, would suggest we don’t turn West Norfolk into one vast residential retirement home by building over the green spaces, we attend to the welfare and social needs of those who live here already and make sure that businesses are supported and encouraged to come here and provide high-quality jobs for those who need them.

Designing a county plan based upon some airy-fairy psychic prediction is a fool’s errand and I’d suggest that these people should pay greater attention to what we DON’T want here.

Anyone care to get the list rolling?

n What do you think? Wanna give Big Eye a poke in the eye? Write to letters@lynnnews.co.uk or drop a line to Lynn News, Limes House, Purfleet Street, King’s Lynn PE30 1HL.