Suffolk AONB Management Plan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery now and then one gets a glimpse of the other planets that some people seem to inhabit. One of these astronomical events occurred when the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) Management Plan 2013-2018 came before the Suffolk County Council  Cabinet for approval and adoption. This is a well written document and was presented by Councillor David Wood, Chairman of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Partnership. Suffolk gives £66,000 to the partnership and Babergh also makes a contribution. I raised the issue that at some point a well written document of about sixty pages  was handed over to the design consultants who proceeded to add thirty pages of photographs and other illustrations. Whilst I could understand such artistic creativity if we were promoting a tourist brochure, it struck me that here was a classic extravagance bordering upon a total waste of money. Councillor Wood told us that the design was done in house and that design consultants were not used. He did not tell us the role of Spring Design & Advertising Ltd who are credited with the design and production of the plan. What he did say was that the production of the plan did not come out of the monies provided by the County. It came from Defra (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs). Management plans are all about Management. (The clue is in the title). They do not need photographs. They may need maps and graphs but we do not need money wasted on fripperies. It all comes out of the same pocket – the taxpayers. The report can be viewed and downloaded from http://www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/about-us/aonb-management-plan/.
Be careful if you print the maps on pages eleven and twelve in greyscale. It makes the coast seem to be under water.
Did I say that Councillor Wood was Leader of the Liberal Democrat and Independent Group at County and a Babergh District Councillor? Leopards do not change their spots and these people regard spending other people’s money in extravagant ways as a God given right. Thank goodness they did not get a majority in May.

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