A view from the Bridge

THE Formartine Area Committee decision on Tuesday to defer the Aldi’s application was something that, I must admit, took me quite by surprise.

Sitting at the Press desk, I had sincerely expected that the application would be waved through without much ado. I have a sneaking suspicion my fellow journalists had anticipated the same. So decisively did I believe this, that I had actually written the outline of a provisional story on that basis, which promptly had to be completely redone.

What the vote - and subsequent deferral - reveals, is the sort of difficult decision which elected members are often presented with at the Area Committee. In this instance, there was no ‘wrong’ answer. Cllrs Davidson and Owen believed that the town would be best served by an immediate grant of planning permission, while Cllrs Thomson and Merson believed that the design wasn’t quite good enough for the site in question. There was considerable merit for both arguments, and the fact that the vote split the committee illustrated this.

Our elected members frequently get quite a lot of stick from the public about just about anything. You name it, at some point I’ve heard the councillors blamed for it. On balance, though, what I saw at FAC on Tuesday was good leadership from both sides, who had approached the same issue from different perspectives. And while the deferral certainly won’t be welcome from Aldi’s end, it might - one hopes - result in a more appropriate design for the site it will occupy.

IN other news, Les Miserables is set to be shown at the Victoria Hall on February 17. I can recommend the event to anyone who has the patience to sit through an - admittedly - fairly long film.

I went to see it a week or so ago myself, thinking: “Ugh, a musical.” There’s something about people stopping for a song in the middle of a battle which my under-active imagination can’t cope with. Nonetheless, my enthusiasm for post-revolutionary France won, and I went to see it. While I failed to join the legions of weeping females in the audience, I did join in the standing ovation it received.

By going to see this film, you’ll not only be setting yourself up for a treat, but you’ll be helping to keep the Victoria Hall a viable community resource. ‘Bon visionnement’ as they might say in France.