A moment of light relief
PUBLISHED: 12:13 25 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010
SITTING for hours at endless council meetings does inevitably dull the brain. I mean, such occasions do not produce a great deal of excitement, and even less drama. But as a newspaper we sit there religiously at the Press table knowing that we are ensurin
SITTING for hours at endless council meetings does inevitably dull the brain.
I mean, such occasions do not produce a great deal of excitement, and even less drama.
But as a newspaper we sit there religiously at the Press table knowing that we are ensuring that the democratic process is seen to be working.
But at least at a recent meeting of Royston Town council's planning committee, we did get some light relief.
And I stress that the emphasis is well and truly on the words light relief.
The reason will become apparent.
The committee was discussing the usual collection of run-of-the-mill planning applications from the erection of a conservatory, to an extension to a property.
But then we came to an application to demolish the public toilets in the car park on the edge of Priory Memorial Gardens.
As we are aware, the plan is for North Herts District Council to spend thousands of pounds of our money in providing a new building on the site.
But to ensure that everyone is playing by the planning rules, an application has to be submitted to get rid of the current building.
It's as simple as that - or so it should be.
But not so, says Cllr Rod Kennedy, who recognised an opportunity for a piece of mischief.
He spoke of the building being of architectural interest: a building that was a "classic" example of the architecture of its time.
The building, he said, should be listed and English Heritage had to be called in to assess its value as an historic monument.
Flushed with a certain pride after making such a suggestion, he saw that he was actually being taken seriously.
Other members of the committee were as convinced about the future of the building and did not, apparently, realise that this was all tongue-in-cheek. Or so it seemed.
It even had the mayor, Cllr Lynn Berry, saying: "If it's good enough for Clochemerle, it's good enough for Royston."
That, of course, was a reference to Gabriel Chevallier's comic novel, in which a mayor helps save a French village's public toilets
Now as this newspaper has a certain reputation not to be rude, I hesitate to say what Cllr Kennedy was doing by raising such a issue.
But, really, he was taking the something or other with his remarks about a public toilet.
And he is now standing by his words, and saying it was a serious suggestion that needed to be raised.
No matter. The committee went along with him and decided that the public toilets should not be demolished. In the end, however, the inevitable will happen.
But, as I said, at least it was a moment of light relief.