*in the style of Pheonix Wright* OBJECTION!

There are many tedious ways to spend an afternoon. It was decided that He Who Knows Everything should get to spend his in one of the most tedious ways we could think of: calculating water run off and how high a berm is needed to shield noise carried on a prevailing wind. You see, a planning application has been made near the farm and we have put in an objection.

The application defines itself with the rather vague description of “Driving School” but when you look at the planning map, what it shows is a giant track spread over 6 ha of farmland. Knowing of the applicants’ interest in rally driving, we are somewhat worried that they plan to also use it as a racing track. While I wouldn’t mind having a zoom around it myself, it is a mere 300m from our own property so you can understand why we are less than keen.
Of course, nothing can be kept secret in Ireland for very long and the applicants’ soon got wind of our intentions and decided to pay us a visit to dispel our fears on this matter. Unfortunately they didn’t realise they would be having this conversation with Mammy who cannot be fobbed off, who knows instinctively when somebody is telling porkpies and who was wearing a skimpy vest and no bra at the time.

According to the applicants, the Irish government has plans to bring in a law (in a few years, mind) that provisional licence holders will not be allowed to drive on a road without first having a number of lessons on a private track built for the purpose. This piece of information sounds stupid enough to be true. It is an idea so flawed that I can’t even be bothered to explain what is wrong with it. It’s up there with BNP leader Nick Griffin’s argument that barring non-whites membership to the BNP is only the same him not being able to join the Black Policeman’s Association (whites can join the BPA. If Mr Griffin is having problems with his application I imagine it is probably more due to his not actually being a policeman).
The applicants then went on to assure us that the driving school was for teaching children to drive. I don’t understand why anybody would pay money to have their 12 year old taught to drive a car, but there you go. Apparently, the reason they have a number of coach bays in their car park is so that coach loads of school children can arrive and be sent around the track with an instructor. Noise pollution would also not be an issue as there would only ever be two cars on the track at any one time.
All well and good you might think. Except for a number of things. If what the applicant says is true and the track is aimed at school age children, why isn’t there any kind of educational centre? The only buildings are an office and a garage. What exactly are the children who aren’t having a go on the track supposed to do? Sit in the coach? Also, why are there 63 car parking spaces and 3 formal coach bays? It is no wonder we are asking questions.

Having spoken with the applicants and disbelieved everything they told us, we went ahead and put in the objection. We were going to do it anyway but were spurred on by they fact that the applicants had gone to all of the neighbours and told them they had spoken to us and we were no longer going to be objecting. If what the applicants told us was true, why would they need to do that?

Unlike the UK where planning applications are decided by committee and it is possible for applicants and objectors to attend the meetings to know what is discussed, Irish planning applications are decided by one man who does not discuss anything with anybody and for whom brown envelopes full of money can be discretely left on the shelf outside his office door. It’s why the Waterford planning official was replaced.

As the applicants are multimillionaires and therefore capable of offering officials more money than we can, He Who Knows Everything has come up with a cunning plan. He has always wanted to be a sub-editor on the Sun newspaper and wants to write a press release for publication by anybody he thinks will print it. He has even come up with a headline: DEATH CRASH DRIVER PLANS DRIVING SCHOOL.

You see, last July one of the applicants was had up in court charged with death by dangerous driving. He was found guilty, fined €5000 and banned from driving for 5 years. Curiously, this ban does not appear to restrict him from competing in rallies.
The sentence seems particularly light when it is considered that the person killed was his wife and that the crash was a Porsche 911 which hit a wall at more than 142 km/h. The Garda were unable to test the blood alcohol level of the driver as he was sedated at the hospital and the testimony of the bar staff who had served him drinks all night was not sufficient testimony to charge the driver with drink driving. The unofficial (and scurrilous) version I hear is that his wife was the designated driver who was on the water all night but that her husband was drunk and wanted to show off to his mate (also in the car, barely hurt) how fast he could drive his brand new car.

Anyway. The objection is in. There is no way on this earth that the application can be put straight through without the planner addressing any of the points we have raised.

If it does, I will go and sit the applicant’s hedge with my camera until I get a photo of him driving while banned. That’ll learn him.