Friday, March 30, 2012

Religious (ish) telly for Holy Week

Sat 31st How God Made the English (part 3) presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch 8pm BBC2

Sun 1st April Twenty-Twelve return of the brilliant spoof on the Olympic delivery team. Episode 1 features the ‘Shared Belief Centre’. 11pm BBC2 (repeated from Friday 30th, so just sneaks in). The religious inclusiveness theme continues in the Good Friday episode (BBC2 10pm). Can't wait.

Mon 2nd Chaplains: Angels of Mersey 2nd in the series (last week featured a hospital chaplain and university chaplain, and was very watchable, though very reality-TV-by-numbers), featuring Liverpools Street Pastors. BBC2 8pm

Good Friday The Preston Passion 12 noon BBC1. Broadcast live from Preston, and inspired by the Manchester Passion of a few years ago. Looks good.

King of Kings (C4 9.40am) is the only biblical-themed film in the terrestrial schedules that day. Unless you count Happy Feet, an anti-religious polemic played out by penguins (ITV2).

And there's the usual host of religious themed movies: Hellboy, Witches of Eastwick, Little Nicky, The Matrix, High Plains Drifter, Minority Report (I've always wondered what Calvinists think of this one), and of course Shawshank.

The current issue of the Radio Times is running its annual award for the best religious broadcasting of the year. And it has a good article by Nick Baines.

Otherwise it’s the usual tired fascination with death (Titanic, Silent Witness, Scott & Bailey etc.) and celebrity (Saturday night).

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

South Somerset Core Strategy: Issues

A few issues and thoughts from reading hundreds of pages of council documents for this weeks meeting. All references below can be found at this link.

 - The plan period now goes to 2028, not 2026
 - SSDC are aiming to build almost 16,000 new homes in that time. Half of these will be in Yeovil, and some are the sites we already know about (Brimsmore, Lufton, Lyde Rd).
 - 2500 will be an 'eco town' to the south of Yeovil, including a primary and secondary school, employment land, and according to the Infrastructure plan, space for a place of worship.
 - housing density creeps ever upwards, there's now a standard of 45 dwellings per hectare. Or 'crowded' if you prefer adjectives.
 - SSDC want to provide land to support 5750 new jobs in the Yeovil area.
 - Next step is a report to full concil in April, followed by more consultations and a planning inspectors report, which will all happen this year.

 - SSDC has withdrawn the idea of 'thresholds' for new developments, above which certain facilities (e.g. play space, school, meeting space) have to be provided. There is some guidance on what should be provided ('PPG17') which the council will follow instead. I'm concerned that this weakens the commitment to community facilities. Following the Wyndham Park fiasco (nothing for the community at all) and a downgrade at Lufton (from a freestanding community hall to one tacked onto the new school), the lack of a concrete trigger point weakens the situation still further.
 - A new map of protected flight paths for Westlands rules out any development in the direction of Brympton House/West Coker.
 - Though the initial thoughts for the eco town involve a 'local centre', possible health centre, and other vague commitments to communit facilities, there is a massive funding gap between the desired and the actual. What will get chopped if the funding doesn't appear?
 - According to the Infrastructure Development Plan ('IDP', appendix H, a key document), Yeovil Hospital won't be expanding, but the Trust will be aiming to deliver out of hours services through local health centres, including minor surgery.
 - "It is recommended that the need for new religious infrastructure is met by the provision of a 0.5 ha land allocation in the masterplanning for the Urban Extension in Yeovil" (IDP p29). Good to hear, it'll be interesting to see how this progresses.
 - The IDP has some interesting stuff in its own appendix, on the phasing of various infrastructure projects. For example, that each of the primary schools on the current key sites will be 2 form entry (that's a new one!), the Lyde Rd one scheduled for 2010-15 (really? There are currently 200 surplus school places on that side of town), and various new community halls with no specified location.

anyway, should be a fun meeting tomorrow.....

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Breaking: South Somerset Core Strategy decisions published

A one-off post for Lent, to keep local folks up to date with some breaking news.

Details of the South Somerset Council response to public consultations on their 'core strategy' (housing, transport, employment, development etc. until 2028) are now online. The first of several meetings where this will be discussed is next Wednesday at the Gateway in Yeovil.

I've not read it in detail yet, but some headlines:
 - Total housing need 2008-28 adjudged to be just under 16,000 new houses.
 - Just under 8,000 of these will be in Yeovil, of which 2,500 will be in an 'urban extension'.
 - Despite extensive local lobbying, the 'South and West' option is the one the council wants to pursue, there is an outline 'masterplan' of where the site will go here. It will disappoint campaigners in East Coker and please anyone who has to live in, or drive through, NW Yeovil. There's no way of pleasing everyone, more important is that the new community is well planned and designed for quality of life and neighbourhood. And that as local churches we engage positively with it.

Right, back to my cloister....

Update: new advice on community provision, commissioned by the council, recommends a 0.5 hectare plot of land in the urban extension be allocated for 'religious infrastructure' (see p28-9). Excellent news.