Core strategy is impossible document

Today is the last possible date for residents of Erewash to have their say on something called The Core Strategy Document.

In a nutshell, this is Erewash Borough Council’s final plans for you and your community for the next fifteen years. Housing, transport, employment, education, the environment – it’s intended to cover the whole nine yards and more. There are however a few slight problems with this huge and scary document.

First, in spite of its importance almost no one knows of its existence, let alone the deadline. Secondly, those that do stumble upon it find themselves confronted by something so steeped in council and legal speak that no one save a high court judge is able to understand it.

At the moment public copies are tucked away in the store rooms of libraries and until last week the ubiquitous on-line version required the skills of an IT guru to find it on the EBC website. You can of course have your own hard copy but like me you’ll be expected to part with twenty quid for the privilege.

Finally, if you’re really persistent and manage to overcome these slight obstacles and attempt to submit your comments, then the equally large and complex form you’re required to fill in will definitely see you off. All in all, not good for something allegedly intended to engage with the public.

Green Squeeze has spent the last three months trying to fathom out this leviathan of literature and quite frankly even the combined efforts of our most cerebral members has achieved little more than to scratch the surface.

Anyway, with the deadline immanent we’ve been wrestling with a literary issue of our own. How to convey this documents total ineffectiveness as a piece of communication to those who’ve not actually seen it.

I think the following yardsticks may help put it in perspective.

The Lord’s Prayer – 52 words, The Ten Commandments – 125 words, Churchill’s ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches speech – 300 words, Henry V on the eve of Agincourt – 419 words, Elizabeth I’s speech to her troops before the Spanish Armada – 310 words, Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech – 881 words, The Magna Carter (now the basis of all English law) – 4,877 words, Shakespeare’s Hamlet – 32,241 words and Erewash Borough Council’s Core Strategy Document including referenced documents – 476,063 words.

What more can I say?

Paul Harvey

Green Squeeze