Well, I’m on the front page of our local newspaper today with a comment on a story I sort of set going.
When my Development Control committee papers arrived a few days ago, I was surprised to see Old Market Square listed as one of the planning applications, so I thumbed through to see what it was. Turned out it was a planning application for a temporary ice-rink – one which they’ve already started building.
In the normal run of things, you should check whether you need planning permission long before you start building anything. In the case of the temporary ice-rink, it’s due to open the day the committee decides whether it’s allowed or not.
I thought this was a sign the Council isn’t quite joined up enough in its planning, and joked about it with colleagues, who suggested we phone up the very good Politics Correspondent on the local paper, Charlie Walker. Initially, I was pitching it as a jokey diary piece, so I was rather surprised to find it on the front page today.
I don’t want to come over as a complete kill joy, and when the application comes to committee I will, as always, consider carefully the evidence in front of me before I make my decision. I’m pretty sure I’ll vote for it, but I am legally obliged to go into the committee with an open mind. On the one hand, Nottingham already has an ice-rink, so I’m not entirely convinced we need another. On the other, I remember an outdoor ice-rink outside the Hotel de Ville in Paris when I was there one year, and it looked great. And Nottingham’s outdoor ice-rink has already proven popular, with some early sessions already fully booked.
Either way, you can see the ice rink being built, and in the fullness of time, you’ll be able to see skaters, on the Old Market Square Webcam. And that’s another thing I can claim credit for – I asked for the webcam to be installed in the Council House so that we could share the view of the construction of New Old Market Square a year or two ago, and the webcam is still there now.