The Dalek wins a reprieve . . .

The news came through yesterday afternoon about 4:00pm from the Hexham Courant as Breaking News after the Tynedale Local Area Council (ie the West Northumberland subsection of Northumberland County Council) had voted for a year’s reprieve, but was then featured on BBC’s Look North’s regular 6:30pm slot, from which the images above were taken.

There was a bit more detail on the news item, in that Neil Cole, proprietor of the Museum of Classic Sci-Fi, will have to create a stone structure to house the Dalek, that’s in keeping with the conservation status of Allendale Town, to satisfy the planning authorities. And he needs to achieve this within the year’s grace on the wooden hut. We discussed the plight of the Allendale Dalek in a very early entry of the diary, and also remarked on the ‘Soli-dalek-y‘ attitude of the greater community in a later post.

Apparently the discussion occupied an hour of the local council’s time, and Neil gave a forthright presentation of the reasons for siting the Dalek as an enticement to visitors to explore his museum. He seemed a bit disappointed by the decision, musing that an appeal to the national planning authorities might be his next step.

Certainly that approach might seem to be beneficial on the publicity angle, always keeping the Dalek and its plight in the public eye, as it were. The problem comes though when folks get tired of it all, and they will get tired if it seems somehow to be special pleading, without due consideration of the way the council has suggested for planning reconciliation. I’d have thought that a stone structure with lockable but opening shuttered windows, a kind of porch construction, could be developed that would resolve the matter. And then the whole affair could be permanently settled.

It’s a bit like the ‘great unmentionable,’ the elephant in every conversation these days, which could, and probably will, rumble on and on throughout our lifetime. Do we really want to live with this local controversy too, for the next decade and more, or would we like to see a happy resolution that solves the problem and consolidates the Dalek into Allendale folklore as a perennial presence, safely and conveniently? Live and let live is a good watchword, and sometimes the best way to do that is to bend like the grass, rather than to risk being broken like the oak tree.

I know which way I’d go, even though I’m not a stone mason, though I do know a man who is!

Good luck to Neil and family, congratulations on the reprieve, and best wishes as they figure out the most reasonable way forward for their future. It’s certainly been a blast, watching the Dalek controversy swirl around this year, seeing the huge free publicity it’s engendered, and empathising with the emotional toll it’s taken. No doubt the whole episode will even outlast this year-long diary effort. But perhaps, with good sense, not much longer than that, then.

Meanwhile . . . . oooo–uuuuu-ooooo . . . there was a full moon last night, spooky or what, eh?

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