Campaign Trail – Day 10
I’m still manfully fighting my way through The Casual Vacancy. I’m about three quarters of the way through now, and it’s suddenly dawned on me that it’s not really about parish council politics but about parenting, and joyless parenting at that. If it had really been about parish council politics, I think many people would have struggled to believe the level of venom and outlandishness which sometimes invades local politics.
Talking of parenting, I have had many conversations over the past few years with my young friends here in the village about what rural living is actually about. On the one hand, many youngsters grow quickly out of wanting to live in what is the middle of nowhere, and move away as soon as they can (university, work in a large city, etc etc). The point I always make here is that, as parents, it’s our duty to provide our young children with somewhere safe to live, and to provide for them, as they grow older, a sanctuary, somewhere for them to come back to when they need respite from whatever their life has decided to throw at them.
And it’s exactly for those reasons that I’ve been campaigning against the Grove Farm development (or at least the proposed size of it), why I opposed the proposed siting of the Co-op, and why I campaigned to save Stradbroke Library, and wholeheartedly supported the siting of the Post Office in the library. To keep Stradbroke a safe place, to make it somewhere that young families can settle without having to worry about traffic, or overpopulation, or the exploitation of the countryside by developers; to give them a chance to put down roots, to empower them to be able to choose what direction their lives will take, to build sanctuary. You may say that’s utopian, that this note is nothing but pretty words without much policy behind it, but you’d be wrong. All policies need to be guided by vision, all actions need to be led by emotion and by caring.
And here are some policies to support that vision:
- introduction of 20 mph speed limit in Stradbroke;
- introduction of 30 mph speed limit to 2 miles out of Stradbroke in all directions;
- cycling/walking paths along all main roads out of the village to the nearest villages;
- pedestrian crossing at the junction of Queen Street and Church Street;
- restrictions on size of housing developments;
- co-option of 16-18-year-olds onto parish council;
- Community Centre to be operated by the parish council not by a separate entity;
- free swimming for 16-18-year-old Stradbroke residents.
Those are practical policies, not utopian pipe dreams. And it’s time land-owners put their hands in their pockets rather than pocketing as much profit as possible from the labours of those who actually matter in the village.
Promoted by Richard Pierce-Saunderson of Spring Cottage, Church Street, Stradbroke, Suffolk, IP21 5HT.