Thursday, 12 December 2013

The land allocation meeting held last night

Was I reassured?


This response has to be seen as totally subjective. It can only state opinions and not facts. However the SLDC planning team of three were totally unconvincing. Dan, the person doing their presentation, together with Alistair McNeill the person who had done the bulk of the work became, as a very personal view, increasingly uneasy as they were unable to reassure the public present that the process within SLDC was honest. John Lawrence, who in my opinion is a person who wants to be given the truth and acknowledges hearing it when given it, kept repeating the same question at intervals. Why, after a period of over three years of consultation with the public, why at the last moment was this extra land slipped in for land allocation? A reason that satisfied him or the rest of us, was never given. The SLDC team seemed to just shuffle nervously. Lynda White drew attention to a very suspect report by Coates that promoted the concept of building on the land in question and several other discrepancies all of which where not answered satisfactorily in my view.

It became apparent that the granting of planning permission for the existing Hoad View development had depended  the very important question of satisfactory access and hence on the views of the Highways Department as they had to be regarded as experts. The same would happen again with a similar application for the land above, the land in question. The planners could hold the view that access was unsuitable but if Highways stated there was no problem then it became extremely difficult to argue against them. Thus the credibility of the people in charge of Highways was crucial. Andrew Moss spoke for the Highways and in my opinion ( which is only an opinion) he is very untrustworthy. He was asked to take on  a simple undertaking - to conduct a reliable/independent traffic survey in the next six months for two locations : the junction of Union Lane/ Stanley Street and the junction Mill St/Soutergate/Church Walk/Fountain Street. He neither agreed or refused: he remained silent.

Such a survey will be essential if the question of access is to be decided reliably should a planning application be presented for building on the land in question.

The only person that can represent us and call into question  Andrew Moss' credibility is our County Councillor James Airey, but will he do this? This requires a lot of courage and determination.

As stated at the meeting, I have in this particular case, lost my faith in the political process to arrive at an honest answer. One that appears to me to satisfy the stated rules.

Andrew Moss wanted us to believe that because we had been heard at this meeting, our views would be " heard" and by inference acted on. Could it not be that what has happened, so often, before that our views will in fact be totally ignored and we will all be left extremely frustrated and angry with no ground given.

It is essential for the future of democracy that the majority believe in it. The alternative is ugly and very terrible anarchy. Were there any who left the meeting last night that didn't share considerable doubts in the trustworthiness of our 'civil servants'  and the ability of our elected representatives to govern them?

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