On April 28, Turnstone criticised a flurry of self-congratulatory emails that followed the Design Award bestowed by the Mayor of West Norfolk on the Westgate Spinney enhancement scheme.
Joy and Richard Webb expressed similar misgivings, but before their letter appeared in the Lynn News on Friday, May 1, another reader accused me of treating West Norfolk council members and officers with contempt. This allegation was made in an email copied to various members and officers, none of whom responded. However, it is important to set the record straight, because criticising poor decision making does not equate with showing contempt for individuals who sometimes have to operate within constraints imposed by their line managers.
It should also be noted that Turnstone is unstinting in his praise for members or officers whenever appropriate.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to congratulate Geoff Hall, the executive director for environment and planning, without criticising Hunstanton Town Council for failing to make similar remarks when it came to an application by Hopkins Homes to build 166 homes on land south of Hunstanton, because in a letter dated March 12, Mr Hall wrote to their agent: “I am afraid that I fundamentally disagree with your interpretation of the responses received to the latest round of consultation on site allocations and development management policies pre-submission document.
It is my view that some of the consultations clearly raise issues of principle, and question the strategy for providing housing in Hunstanton.
“For example I note from the responses that there are queries over whether the previous strategy for Hunstanton is more appropriate than this large site [on land south of Hunstanton] in the pre-submission document.
“I believe this proposal raises strategic issues and matters of principle for the development of Hunstanton that should be considered at the forthcoming plan Examination; otherwise it would render public consultation
superfluous, and in my view bring the plan process into disrepute. Should you disagree with this view then either we can take the application to Committee with an officer recommendation for refusal, or you may appeal
against non-determination of the application.
“It is of note that you decided to submit the current application at an early stage in the process (certainly for the proposed allocation of your
site) against officer advice, and the issues set out above are a direct consequence of this.”
Is it too much to hope that new town councillors will make amends for the shortcomings of their predecessors by reiterating Mr Hall’s concerns? Perhaps this would ensure that the open aspect of gently sloping land south of Hunstanton will not be lost forever; along with views of mature trees and glimpses of the sea, seen from the Westgate Spinney area, but soon to be obscured by McCarthy & Stone’s block.