Nelson Hospital Community Reference Group

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The development proposals have been progressing and a meeting fo the community reference group will be held on 30th October 2009.

I recently heard a Council Leader explaining why he would not employ an accountant as a Finance Director. Many accountants (with apologies to them) tend to be overly concerned with balancing the books and therefore have no brain space left for vision. I agree. It seems that pretty much every project being considered must pay for itself as quickly as possible, i.e. must “wash its own face” to use developers’ parlance.

Of course, money is extremely important, but it should not be everything. I believe that a proportion of the public budget could be used to fund projects whose benefits are measurable in ways other than financial. Suppose, for example, that a borough council has a budget of £20,000,000. Suppose also that it decides to spend £2,000,000, i.e. a mere 10%, in an experimental way. Rather than a development of flats, offices or shops which would certainly show a financial return, it is decided to create public gardens. You could not charge entry for such a place and there would be, therefore, no financial return. But imagine the pleasure such a place could provide. As Keats said “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” So why can’t we aim sometimes for that which provides beauty, joy, delight, peace – that raises the spirits and not the bank balance?

Ian Smith

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