What’s Going On in Warrington?
It’s taken me quite a long time to unravel the 148 pages of Warrington Borough Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order for development on Bridge Street, but what it appears to boil down to is the following:
The Council is calling on its powers under Section 226 (1) (a) and Section 226 (3) (a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and Section 13 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
Section 226 (1) (a) gives rights to a local authority, on being authorised to do so by the Secretary of State, to compulsorily purchase any land in their area if the LA thinks that by doing so it will make easier the carrying out of ‘development, redevelopment or improvement on or in relation to the land’.
Section 226 (3) (a) gives rights to a local authority, on being authorised to do so by the Secretary of State, to compulsorily purchase any land adjoining the land purchased under Section 226 (1) which is required for carrying out works which will make development or use of the land purchased under Section 226 (1) easier.
Section 13 enables the LA, on being authorised by a Minister of the Crown, to acquire ‘new rights’ that they themselves specify, over the land compulsorily purchased.
So. The CPO describes 11 rights that the Council wishes to acquire for the following purposes:
It’s inevitable I suppose, seeing the way my life’s going at the moment – or should that be ‘not going’ – that no sooner do I feel I’ve wrestled the latest obstacle in the way of working towards a PhD into manageable proportions, than another one crops up in its place.
I wrote the previous post last week and left it on my computer until I could find a space to add in some links. (This also helps with the typos. Being trained to spot them doesn’t stop you making them; it just annoys you even more.) While I was looking for something aposite for the Bridge Street Quarter development Google threw up an article at the local paper, the Warrington Guardian.
It seems to be implying that, as part of the development, the Council is making draconian use of its powers to compulsory purchase most of Bridge Street. Now, to my mind, you don’t compulsory purchase a building unless you’re planning to do something the owners are probably going to object to – like knocking most of it down?? – so this is immediately ringing alarm bells.
More Google searches found the Compulsory Purchase Order offered for consultation on the Council’s website and a‘final’ CPO buried somewhere in its depths, but the Order Maps referred to, outlining the buildings, that would make things clearer, aren’t attached to either. It needs going through in detail but, at nearly 150 pages, I haven’t yet had time. First impressions, though, are that they’re making a clean sweep on the relevant side of Bridge Street.
Just back from a shopping trip to Warrington, on which more another time, but it reminded me that I haven’t posted on this blog for a while. Life has been getting in the way rather too much for the actual life I am trying to lead – researching, gardening, writing, with innumerable breaks for tea, cake and a middlebrow novel – and I need to get myself back on track.
I decided some time ago that work on my book had become bogged down and that I was merely amassing piles of information as I followed some interesting side-trail. What I needed was Focus and it seemed that the best way of doing this was to turn my book into a research proposal and embark upon a PhD. (As you do.) As each stage of my academic career has been marked by some ridiculously over the top life crisis I was rather reluctant to set the wheels of Fate in motion once more, but went ahead and made enquiries anyway. (Ave, etc. etc.)
Amazingly, I found the right chap at the right place first crack out of the bag but the difficulty now is in finding time for the interview. All my MA work is on obsolete technology (anyone remember those little hard rectangular ‘disks’?) and my potential supervisor, though gratifyingly interested in the research outline I sent, naturally wants to see some academic bona fides beforehand. Earlier in the year, I decided that the way forward was to write some More and Better essays but am now (obviously) looking back at such gay innocence (1930s sense) with the hollow laugh of a Bertram Wooster caught sans Jeeves.
When writing a book, you inevitably feel at some point as though you’re grappling with a large mass of material that’s rapidly getting out of control. I’ve been trying to take a few steps back with my own work, recently, by writing a post outlining my research, how I came to start it and the key points that interest me in comparing the urban development of Warrington and York.
It’s proving a very useful exercise: cutting down my initial 11 pages to just two is helping me focus only on the core elements of my argument; and thinking of what I’m writing in terms of a blog post, rather than an academic essay, is also making me focus on my potential readership.
It was while I was thinking along those lines that I started to wonder what publishers looked for in book proposals and a little internet research threw up these rather comprehensive guidelines from Palgrave Macmillan.
Being on WordPress is very different to being on Blogger: there’s none of the log-on-and-write that is so liberating, and comforting, to novice bloggers and techno-phobes like myself. What it does make you realise, though, is that blogging is a serious format, somewhere along the lines of a press-release or newspaper column, with its own style of writing that must be similarly learnt. I think it’s the lack of physical entity that makes many people rather look down on it, but it seems to me that blogs are merely a technological replacement of the ‘zines of the eighties and nineties (or perhaps another facet; do these still exist?) the next generation of self-publishing. It must be enormously liberating now to be a teenager and instead of endless hours with pritt stick and scissors, and then hawking it round, just pressing ‘Publish’. Or did the physical effort involved impose some kind of discipline; did it weed out those who weren’t prepared to put in the time or had nothing to say?
Perhaps not so very shortly after all.
It is now February and I have just spent most of the weekend transferring all my previous posts across from my Blogger site to here. I set up this site when I first started having problems trying to post, and have now transferred everything over to WordPress while I try and work out what the problem is. I’ve been sidetracked by a lot of annoying issues over the summer and autumn but I’m hoping for a month’s break now to catch up.
I started a post on flood meadows during the very wet autumn; with luck and a following wind I will be able to complete it by next weekend.