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Living in the past as opinions go unheard
9:30am Wednesday 11th April 2012 in Letters
“PLANNING is about leaning on people. It’s not about policy.”
This is a comment made to me this week in response to the result of the planning meeting held in the Milton Rooms last Thursday evening.
He should know. As a senior officer of a district council he was in the thick of it.
I said my piece on both applications but could say no more during the debate. Debate? What debate?
It never happened. What a farcical meeting to purport to be looking for the truth. What a farcical meeting to try to instil a confidence within the community that planning was in safe hands.
It was a sham from beginning to end and I found myself walking out in utter disgust and so pleased I had not paid for the performance.
As councillors, who clearly had not listened to the comments from the public participants, reflected on the past and drifted into their own inner memories rather than concentrate on the facts before them, I wanted to burst in and say, “Were you listening? Didn’t you hear the animal market is going? Can’t you look for a better use for that bit of land?”
But as someone who participates in many meetings I knew I was not allowed. I had said my bit even though barely a single councillor was listening. They had no intention of taking account of what I or anyone else was saying.
Many whimsically remembered the ‘better days’, long from the past, when the animal market added vitality to Malton.
Those days are long gone, but not in their minds. It’s clear that there is an element of mediocrity that fails to serve this community well.
I ask you: if that area of ground was vacant and someone came along to ask for planning permission to construct an animal market there now, with all the traffic congestion and smells, would Ryedale District Council approve it?
Absolutely not! But will they accept a better future? Absolutely not!
We moved on to the second application with indecent haste. Barely any discussion again as the motion was made from the ‘chair’ to accept officer recommendations. I had a sense of ‘déja vu’.
Wentworth Street? What a wonderful piece of land for a Tesco.
Ooops! Sorry. They seem to be the only ones in the dark about the buyer.
With barely a comment of opposition, even from the consulting agencies who, we trust, will seek out flaws and scrutinise every detail, the motion for a supermarket on Wentworth Street car park was carried.
“But what about all the extra traffic going through Old Malton, along Highfield Road and past both of Malton’s primary schools,” I asked.
Not a single comment from NYCC Highways to allay my fears. As a county councillor myself I was not impressed.
We deserve better but too few were listening. Closed minds take bad decisions. I think I will have to get my ears tested too.
COUN STEPHEN SHAW, Norton