One of the common features of pressure groups and campaigns is their one-tracked pursuit of their goals, impervious to whether the approach they are taking is so inappropriate as to actually prevent them being taken seriously, ultimately reducing the likelihood of them achieving their goals. So it is with the New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust. They will be making representations to the planning inspector who is currently assessing Swindon Borough Council’s Central Area Action Plan. The plan covers many things and the Railway Village is a relatively small part of that… and the Mechanics Institute an even smaller part still.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly appropriate for the Mechanics Institute to be a topic for discussion during the inspector’s examination of the action plan, but her remit is limited to issues of planning policy and strategy. Who owns individual properties is not a planning policy matter. Using the examination, as they are, as a means for yet again peddling the Preservation Trust’s view that the Mechanics Institute should be in their their ‘community’ ownership for community use is way beyond what inspector’s remit. Wasting everyone’s time making arguments that aren’t relevant just annoys and detracts from the small smattering of arguments in the Trust’s case that the inspector can consider.
If they want to yet again be labelled as vexatious, the New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust seem to be going the right way about it.