Letter: Jeffrey Reed, November 7, 2014

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Back in May there was an article by your teenage reporter Amber Kirk-Ford which was perhaps the most reasoned and hard hitting piece of writing I have seen in your paper for a long time.

It expressed her revulsion ,as a born and bred local, at the desecration of Downham.

The situation has become even worse in the past few months since the article,and I felt I must therefore write to bring her brave assessment of the position home to your readers.

Instead of the fields and nature she used to enjoy,there are sprawling estates of intensive housing,seemingly without any master plan.

Turning each corner of the muddled road system are several incongruous three-storey blocks of stark unattractive flats. Admittedly there has been some effort to use carrstone( we call it gingerbread ) to alleviate the depressing feel of the whole area.

I have just walked all through this maze and Bennett Street is about to be connected to Grimshoe Road, enabling a rat run from the railway station to Wimbotsham without entering the town centre.

The pleasant fields have disappeared and the now messy footpaths are left at the edges next to nondescript wood fencing .

This development is a direct result of the last Labour government’s policy,spearheaded by the ubiquitous John Prescott,to cover the country with concrete and houses.

The borough council seized the gauntlet to approve more and more housing,and therefore raise more council tax revenue .

The fact that this money is now needed to help cover the huge cost of the misguided campaign to derail the EFW plant is another matter.

I have campaigned for some years to renovate our existing housing stock throughout the country,as there are millions of houses which could be brought back into use,rather than destroy our beautiful countryside. Downham has more than doubled in size over the last 10 years ( to a population of nearly 12,000).

The planners accept this has been a terrible mistake, and the infrastructure has not grown nearly enough to cope (doctors, dentists, water, sewerage systems, schools, hospitals, shops, parking ).

As Amber sagely wrote, our once lovely market town has been changed for ever,and the blame can be laid squarely at the door of our borough and county councillors and officers. Their indifference, and succumbing to powerful greedy developers has meant that we are leaving an unsightly legacy to our children and grandchildren.

Jeffrey Reed,

Denver hill, Downham