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Thursday, 15 May 2008
Not the Tour de France


I took this photograph opportunistically of these cyclists passing the Flower Farm in Godstone, Surrey yesterday evening.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday 5 July this year.

Posted by bigblue on 15/05/2008 at 08:45 PM
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Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Not the Oxted Pram Race


I took this photograph opportunistically of a character cycling through Bletchingley, Surrey, this evening. It looks like the cyclist is from France or on the way there. Besides for the (F) on the front of his cycle he has a sticker labelled France on the back of his trailer. 

This year the Oxted Pram Race is held on Friday 4th July 2008.

Posted by bigblue on 14/05/2008 at 08:59 PM
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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Stencil graffiti: A Turkey


I spotted this graffiti in The Shambles, Sevenoaks. Is it an antidote to the twee historical murals sponsored by the Sevenoaks District Council that have adorned that medieval street since 1991?

This picture could be seen as appropriate to the street on which it was painted because the term shambles is a (now obsolete) term for an open-air slaughter-house or meat market.

Posted by bigblue on 13/05/2008 at 11:16 PM
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Monday, 12 May 2008
Bicycles in Oxford


A street in Oxford which is typically lined with bicycles. The door through the wall on the right leads to a college shed where many more bicycles are stored.

Posted by bigblue on 12/05/2008 at 11:35 PM
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Sunday, 11 May 2008
Oxted bluebells

I stumbled across this short video clip of the bluebells around Oxted, by timbirdgraphics. If you are inclined to sea-sickness I should warn you that the photographer pans quite rapidly!

Posted by bigblue on 11/05/2008 at 02:40 PM
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Saturday, 10 May 2008
A Self Portrait


I took this a few weeks ago during my trip to Paris.

Posted by bigblue on 10/05/2008 at 10:11 PM
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Friday, 09 May 2008
Bluebells around Oxted


I thought I would post another photograph of the bluebells that are currently blooming in the woods around Oxted. Previous photos: Little Earls Wood and Great Earls Wood. Outside link: The Woodland Trust.

Posted by bigblue on 09/05/2008 at 09:45 PM
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Thursday, 08 May 2008
Local planning meeting: Chalkpit Lane issue


I went to the local council planning meeting last night which discussed the Chalkpit Lane issue. Unfortunately, as it was a district meeting, Pat “two votes” Frost of the Surrey County Council was not there.

The cavalry arrived at the beginning of the meeting, in the form of riders from the Tandridge Priory Riding School, to register their protest at the situation. The increased lorry traffic on Barrow Green Road affects them. We the public were also asked to pose outside by photographers from the local rags.

The meeting began and early on it emerged that the different residents’ groups were divided. The Oxted group want a one way system introduced which will force the lorries from the quarry to exit up Chalkpit Lane onto the ridge where their onward route would take them to Woldingham, Limpsfield or Warlingham but would avoid the Oxted residential areas.  The residents from those other areas were against the plan, and the councillers fell into one of the two camps (or abstained).

The majority decision of the Council was to ask for further investigation of the “one way proposal”, including more details, costs, and an environmental impact analysis. At the same time they are making preparations so that this decision could start being finalised next month when they prioritize local road works. It could be done as a temporary, experimental, measure to start off with. It is a magnificent way of not doing anything concrete to actually resolve the core issue, but allows the Council to be seen to be responsive to the most dissatisfied group (while still keeping all future options open). I can see this is attractive to the councillers who have no ideal solution at hand but only a choice over which is the “least worst option”. Either they alleviate the situation of the Chalkpit Lane residents and antagonise the Woldingham and other groups, or visa versa.

The Council’s pattern of behavior seems to be to avoid doing anything for as long as possible. In this case they are forced to do something because of the anger of the Chalkpit Lane residents that has built up over the past year of inaction. Another pattern of behaviour on their part seems to be to blame central government for their own inability to act effectively. I wondered if this was to detract attention from their own culpability in rubber-stamping the quarry operations the last time it came up for approval. Only one counciller, Lisa Bangs (Lingfield, LibDem) made a passionate argument against the mealy “we have few powers so can’t fight on behalf of our constituents” mentality. Indeed if they aren’t supposed to fight on behalf of the people who elected them then who is?

A spokesperson for the Woldingham group made an apt observation during his submission that the council’s inability to act over the past year to resolve the Chalkpit Lane residents problems has caused the conflict between different resident’s groups.

I fear for the unintended consequences of a weak-willed council that takes the least difficult decision:

Posted by bigblue on 08/05/2008 at 07:41 AM
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