Letters: Stuart Hall, August 14, 2015

Election Ind Candidate Stuart Hall ANL-150904-081756009
Election Ind Candidate Stuart Hall ANL-150904-081756009
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In response to Cllr Beales’s letter, July 17, it is very interesting that the councillor states he supported a democratic vote on the incinerator, but is then dismissive of one that deals with the effective privatisation and development of public land by the use of public funds.

The rule would seem that when the developments are council-led, referendums are not worth doing. You would think a public park, paid for and maintained by public money would qualify for a public vote. Leaving one single field does not compensate people for the loss of something that is actually in shorter supply than the housing he proposes and that’s based on the council’s own green space assessment. Contrary to what he states, a West-Norfolk wide referendum on the issue would be very welcome and we would support a full and independent democratic vote. We thank him for his offer and would support its implementation.

What is needed is social housing, however the Lynnsport development will not provide any of these. It has a mere 15 per cent of affordable housing, which equates to a price that is 80 per cent of the market value. Not the same thing, whatever way you slice it up.

With regard to not letting them know who was attending their consultative forum, I did send an email that stated clearly that I may not be able to attend, but someone to represent LARA would attend. We sent someone and they reported back.

As far as spurning the opportunity I think the council’s behaviour exposes more about their attitude than anything that can be gained by attending.

This consultative forum is only worth attending if it’s not all been decided already and it would seem that this is the case.

Anything unexpected and not controlled or directed by the council seems to send them into mild meltdown, resulting in attempts to discredit us.

The consultative forum is held in the middle of the day which is when most of us work. We are happy to give up a day’s holiday to attend if there was actually an opportunity to shape anything.

The fact is you can gain all the information you need from Cllr Daubney’s approved minutes. If there were any real interest in letting us shape anything, Cllr Beales would not have been so negative about the “indicative” ideas we took the time to present to them. The council’s own “indicative plans” had no details and no road connections, but that’s okay because they are the council.

He is in no position to be so dismissive, as no one from the council actually tried to discuss (consult) any morsel of the ideas proposed. The only comment we have had was this sneering remark in the letters page.

We believe the long-term sustainability of the town and its people is intrinsically linked to keeping Lynnsport as an open space. So it was hard to accept the road and housing, but we tried to be reasonable and make the best of it, but all we received is a proverbial slap in the face.

Perhaps they should try to remember we are only local taxpayers trying to engage with a council.

The important part not mentioned was that our ideas were part of a desire to develop a Neighbourhood Plan, which would allow local people to shape their own community. The project officer stated to us this would not be allowed, as Cllr Beales had said no.

At the first consultative forum Cllr Beales stated that the council would help us with a Neighbourhood Plan, as it was legally obliged to do so. For whatever reason it was the wrong information and we lost a good deal of time.

At a planning meeting it was stated that no details were available, as these would only become available once approved. Even though flooding concerns were still unresolved the Conservative-dominated planning committee approved their own plans, eventually, after a “procedural error”, “human error” and one councillor going AWOL during the meeting and then materialising to vote.

Cllr Beales misunderstands the term urban sprawl, this describes the state of the town when they have finished digging up the park.

The council’s own green space assessment states that the town does NOT have enough green space currently, so to remedy that they build on more of it? While yet another council report states that Lynnsport is unsuitable for housing, so why plan to build on it?

We do need a five-year housing plan for the town if we are to prevent unscrupulous developers building uncontrollably in communities. That is the idea behind the Local Development Framework (LDF), which the council have spent years preparing and our local MP championed as “robust”. In reality it lasted just over a half a day before the council were asked if they would like to go away and do it again.

The inspector had serious concerns with their first effort. They just forgot to first deal with infrastructure, flooding, public consultations, green infrastructure and sustainability; easy mistakes to make?

The Lynnsport plans were not discussed, as that was scheduled for day two.

We made the self-same representations in the LDF and wanted to include these in our plan, which also embraced the Norfolk Wildlife Trust vision of Lynnsport acting as a green infrastructure hub linking Reffley Wood to Hardings Pits via the cycle paths and river valleys, hence our suggestions in the plan.

I would hope that not all Conservative councillors are so black-hearted to our concerns and will eventually stand up and look at what makes sense.

Lynnsport could be a key component in a green infrastructure plan, a plan that equally forms a crucial part in alleviating the concerns of the LDF inspector, so why risk everything?

Stuart Hall

Chairman of LARA