Well that's that then, less than a week into the "Tea War" and hostilities have come to end as Northampton Borough Council surrendered and declared an end to their proposed tea drinking ban in the Walled garden at Delapre Abbey.
Not though before many an attempt to try and make out they had no intention of doing so in the first place, let alone the odd comment or three suggesting it was all a slip of the tongue by an officer and nothing to do with the politicians.
But lets not carp on about the past, victory is as sweet as Earl Grey with three sugars, and amazingly 414 people had joined the campaigns facebook group in just 3 days.
The planning officer who let this slip though, has done everyone a huge favour, because if this had of gone by unchallenged then I believe FoDA (Friends of Delapre Abbey) would have been in real trouble in the coming weeks when trying to negotiate their lease with Northampton Borough Council. You see they have been banned from the walled garden since November of last year and the new conditions on the lease being proposed by NBC had in it the following inexplicable clauses banning FoDA from using the walled garden for any of the following purposes:
Tea Room Seating,
Fruit, Flower or Vegetable growing, or
I can now exclusively reveal to you that as part of the surrender treaty negotiations that FoDA have also now been given permission to pick their Leeks which have been growing happily away without interference in the greenhouses, (this is really all true) So lets now hope that the rest of the above ridiculous list of restrictions are now banished forever.
As I have said before if the Council has real concerns about say Marquees being erected or big events spoiling the ambiance or tranquility of the garden, then lets put in a serious clause about having to have permission from the council for such occurrences, but don't ban them out of hand because who knows? maybe NBC and FoDA might want to arrange a jointly held Victoria Sponge competition in a Marquee on the garden only to find they had banned themselves from such potentially dangerous activities.
Many have rightly guessed though that there was a lot more to this dispute than meets the eye, and I am certainly happy to confirm that a small minority within the Lib Dem group have been agitating for some time to upset FoDA and trying to cause trouble for them and their volunteers, but hopefully all that can now stop? A truce? and an agreement for all Councillors from all sides of the Borough Council to work together with FoDA and others to ensure that our hopefully shared objective of seeing the Abbey restored to it's former glory and accessible to the public now and in the future is achieved.
We can but live in hope.
By the way, thank you to so many of you who joined our campaign on facebook, and also thank you to those Lib Dem Councillors who responded so predictably and thus made our tea in the sun all the more enjoyable.
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