Monday, 14 February 2011

Knettishall Heath Country Park

The future of country parks and recreation sites within Suffolk: Knettishall Heath

Duncan Farley
The future of country parks and recreation sites
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich IP1 2BX

Parish News Editor: e-mail address (omitted for this print out)
Parish Correspondent e-mail address (omitted for this print out)
Matthew Hancock MP West Suffolk (my MP, though not Knettishall Heath's MP)
Letters to Eastern Daily Press & East Anglian Daily Times (Knettishall Heath Norfolk & Suffolk)
Bury Free Press Lesley Anslow (Knettishall Heath apparently comes under Suffolk jurisdiction)

Re: Knettishall Heath Country Park

Dear Mr. Farley,

you request 'any immediate questions, contact us by e-mail to or phone 01473 264786 and we will respond directly.'

I deem it a sad situation that Knettishall Heath Country Park has been turned into a car park and restricted area over recent years. I lived across the way at Riddlesworth Stud as a child in 1966 before moving to nearby Coney Weston in 1967. I have close family ties to area going back generations. My mother played upon the heath as a child as did my brother and I. My Grandfather worked at nearby Riddlesworth Hall as did his father before him.

The wonder of Knettishall Heath 'Red Arch' was always its wildness, unkempt condition and the opportunity to wander anywhere and explore off-track. As a child I learned from falling over, grazing my knees, getting scratched and stung and benefiting from fresh air cum rain or shine. Where today there is an official car parking area, I once had a birthday party whereby a bunch of my primary school friends put down jumpers and played football. We laughed at finding a discarded condom among the grass and heather that was our football pitch. Today one might be in danger of criminal charges for even leaving condom 'litter' thereabouts as a sense of perspective is being dissipated by political correctness and framework legislation.

Please return the area to its wild condition by removing all car parking and fencing materials. I do not have an issue with the toilet facilities; though as a chap it is easy for me to pee behind a bush, I fully appreciate the convenience of public conveniences for those who require such a facility. Indeed, there should be public lavatories on as many street corners as possible; rather than in McDonald's factory food outlets such as in Bury St. Edmunds.... but, that's another issue.

However, the rest - fencing, car park ground griding material, unnecessary ugly signs - please get rid of it all. Return it to the condition we see every time repeats of Dad's Army are shown. That is how it once was. Neither the ponies that now monopolise large part of the heath nor the electric fencing are indigenous to this area. Let the ponies either roam wild or return them to the area where they are indigenous.
I am asked to express an interest at and complete the online form or complete and return the form enclosed in the original letter by post to:
Jerry Hindle
Countryside Manager
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich IP1 2BX

I do not wish to fill in more forms; our 'big society' appears over run with forms. In this case just simple common sense can prevail and perhaps an invitation by the local authorities to locals to attend an open day/evening/weekend if necessary to discuss the issue. What is it with today's society that everything requires paperwork and form filling? My desire is clear, simple and one sentence long:
Please return Knettishall Heath Red Arch to the condition I recall 30-40 years ago.

Whom ever has been responsible for 'manicuring' and undermining the natural environment of Knettishall heath, please dismiss them with immediate effect and just let the heath be. I am not convinced degrees, diplomas and academic qualifications in conservation necessarily make for he wisest use the our local heathland; indeed, they may even be detrimental. I wonder if we have forgotten the benefit of the apprenticeship policy which might have once been implemented by an estate manager.

I attended a Parish Council meeting some weeks ago and expressed my views though I was cautioned by the chairman for 'grinding my axe' with the local councillor. I was alarmed at being publicly cautioned for grinding an axe which I did not even realising I had, let alone grinding. Recent experience with local authorities and committees makes me suspect Knettishall is unlikely to be returned to the condition I so fondly remember.

After 14 years experience of asking local authorities to enable me to renovate Gasthorpe Church ruin, I understand the attitude of local authorities toward historical and cultural sites depends on connections, the right handshake and adhering to conventional legislative framework which frequently denies common sense, practical solutions and becomes more of a hindrance than help.

I do not expect my proposal to be applied; however, as a local member of the voting public I am at least registering my view with you Mr. Farley, my MP, local Parish Magazine and local newspapers.

Yours sincerely,
Ned Pamphilon

Sunday, 13 February 2011

For Big Society Tweet BS

At the time of typing, I have just received a 6 hour old Wikileaks Tweet with a link to an essay in which Julian Assange quotes Thomas Paine. As an artist who has produced portrayals of Tom Paine both in Thetford and Diss, towns where he was born and later worked, the article grabbed my attention:

Assange's essay recalls Paine comparing the sun to the truth: "Such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants is the liberty of appearing."

Fighting extradition to Sweden, still on bail, hold up at Ellingham Hall near Bungay in the Waveney Valley with his ASBO type tag, Assange references Thetford's international radical Paine to illustrate the natural inclination for information to circulate among the people just as the sun rises each day on a new dawn. He goes on to mention how Paine relinquished any copyright fee for his Common Sense publication during the American revolution, which further hit home with me since I recently submitted an essay to Gresham's School Magazine about the future redundancy of intellectual property right. I propose the BBC must retain its ability to inform the public without concern for financial profit accountability and the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Metallica, McCartney, the health and energy industries must one day allow information and ideas to be freely shared for the betterment of civil society rather than owned, sold and subscribed to.

My OAP parents went on holiday to Egypt at exactly the same time as the revolution began to unfold. I was not overly concerned because I had access to information via the internet and could monitor the situation. While the BBC and western media frequently focused on fear mongering about the Muslim Brotherhood or military dictatorship, I followed Aljazeera, Facebook and Twitter messages from Egyptians and witnesses on the ground informing with greater clarity than BBC Radio 4's John Humphreys and his tired old mind set colleagues. Mind you, the BBC Egypt Unrest blog did provide poignant comment such as on 11.02.2011 at 14.57hr when a protester in Tahrir Square told the BBC's Lyse Doucet: "Neither the president or vice-president know how to send an SMS. They don't use e-mail. They speak a different language from us."

My 76 year old ex-Diss Grammar School mum can send an SMS. My 79 year old father cannot, though they arrived home from Egypt at 2am and he was out again at 9am for his yoga class.

I recently met with a local Diss High School student who appeared on the front page of the Diss Express as a coordinator of student protest against government cuts:
I was told he filled in a 20 page form granting permission to demonstrate by Diss Park Pavilion. I thought this quite bizarre; what happens if permission is denied? Does a student go home, be a good little 6th former, switch on X Factor and Strictly Dance to the directives of local authorities? Imagine the ridiculous scenario of Egyptians submitting demonstration forms requesting the resignation of President Mubarak.

The Egyptian revolution not only inspired relatively peaceful rebellion, it perhaps also demonstrated how to initiate the Cameron-Clegg Big Society concept: the protesters organised smoking and non-smoking areas within Tahrir Square, recycling bins for rubbish and indeed, the BBC's Andrew Steele blogged at 13.50hr: "In Tahrir Square, the water distribution and rubbish collection are working better than is normally the case in many parts of Cairo."

I repeatedly requested a quote of support from the Cameron-Clegg offices for the Waveney Springs Art Collective Art Trail September 2010. I repeatedly received excuses denying a quote and on 25 January 2011, No: 10 Downing Street Private Secretary Simon King wrote to me explaining how the Waveney Springs Art 'Collection' is a living example of the Big Society. Oh, well that’s OK then isn’t it! It occurred to me that when Tweeting, Big Society can be abbreviated to BS and having listened to BS head honcho Francis Maude I conclude he can keep his BS where the sun does not rise since my request for a quote of support might be better served by tweeting Tahrir protesters.

Assange finishes off with Paine's quote "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." One would hope we on the Norfolk-Suffolk border have progressed beyond that point where Egypt must start over again, but for God's sake, let's at least not go backwards and submit to form filling before school students feel at liberty to peacefully demonstrate by Diss Park Pavilion.
Hail those for getting off their backsides and peacefully rebelling when others appear to have fallen asleep; merely accepting the status quo dished out to them.

Also at the time of typing, I am informed - by the internet - Ron Paul just came first in the Republican U.S. Presidential Candidate CPAC straw poll: YouTube:
The Huffington Post:

I suspect few in East Anglia will have any idea of who Ron Paul is. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank Of England and recipients of banking bonuses will know who Ron Paul is and Ron Paul knows who Thomas Paine was. As Robert 'Dylan' Zimmerman sang, The Times They Are A Changing and as Obama quoted Paine, they may well be times that try men's souls.
Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute Tweeted: "Mubarak resigning as leader & Intel Chief Suleiman & Armed Forces taking charge is like Hitler appointing Himmler & Gestapo to run Germany."!/geraldcelente

I pray the future is not as bleak as some predict and for those awake and aware, may a peaceful and positive force be with you.

Ned Pamphilon 13.02.2011

Published by The Waveny Valley Blog: