Monday 6 August 2018

AxleBridge Deb-acle Continues

Details continue to emerge of Dr Pikeman’s latest ego trip, the Broads National Pike Visitor Experience at AxleBridge.

Usually, an organisation would identify a need, develop a business plan and set a budget before buying land and selecting a design. But the Blessed Pikeman Principles permit a very different process:

1. Identify a “business opportunity” in the shape of a dilapidated riverside shack.
2. Purchase it using navigation funds on the pretext of providing public moorings.
3. Entice members with the concept of a coffee shop, showers and other boating facilities.
4. Decide to build a “landmark” visitor centre instead and announce a £750,000 budget without asking members first.
5. Beat off hordes of architects, all hungry for a big cut of public money.

The design selected on behalf of members swallows half the moorings, lacks any boating facilities at all, occupies more land than the Blessed Authority owns and can’t be built within the budget which was never agreed anyway.

“This was always the plan” said Blessed Chair Temper Turtle. “An education centre is essential for people like Dick Bilson and myself who don’t know anything about the Broads, and Yarco Council are kindly gifting us a derelict toilet block by the bridge to convert into a yacht station - whatever that may be. Then we can buy a bit of arable land next door to build John’s visitor centre, which I've decided to call ‘The Granny Annex’ in honour of my wonderful predecessor.”

At July’s Blessed Meeting, members bravely started to question the need for Turtle’s Granny Annex, pointing out the lack of a business case and raising concerns about the design. But Dr Pikeman cleverly convinced them that it wasn’t their job to agree either the principle or the design, because that would give them a conflict of interest when they had to approve it at planning committee. Instead, an outside consultant will be paid to invent a business case and the executive will agree the design with the architect.

“We need to keep members out of this process until the very end, to protect them from any risk of pre-determination” said Dr Pikeman. “They can look at it when the designs are finished, by which time it will be far too difficult for them to turn it down” he continued. “I like to give members a clear choice of pissing public money up against the wall, or making an embarrassing u-turn - because they’ll go with spending the money every time. And, now that I’ve reduced the number of Blessed Meetings by 50%, I can probably get this all pushed through before the next one anyway!”

Dr Pikeman scoffed at the idea that it would be more appropriate for members to agree the project, and for Birdland District Council to determine the planning application. “Don’t be ridiculous” he said. “The whole thing is contrary to planning policy - and that’s even before we start trying to build it on a field. We’d never get planning permission if we let someone else determine it for us.”

Saturday 4 August 2018

And breathe…

Blessed stakeholders are being offered free places on a yoga workshop the Blessed Authority is organising in September.

“I have been practicing yoga for over a decade”, said Dr. Pikeman “and I find it very beneficial when I need to detach myself from the brutality of everyday life and the demands of my work. The Authority is comprehensively letting stakeholders down at every level and I feel that if only they could connect to their higher selves and stop thinking about dredging and spending public money sensibly, we would all be in a better place.”

The yoga workshop takes place on 22nd September at Twitlingham Dogging Park and every disgruntled stakeholder is being offered a free place - with those suffering legal proceedings or planning appeals or enforcement being offered a complimentary head and neck massage as well.

“I can highly recommend yoga as a way of reducing stress”, the newly elected Chair Temper Tantrum chipped in. “Dr Pikeman insists I meditate before every meeting to stop me bursting into tears and calling everyone a bully who doesn’t agree with me.”

Tickets are £10 for gullible Golden Triangle hipsters, all others free of charge.