Sometimes we feel it’s just a waste of time
YOU mentioned apathy in last week s Editor-at-Large column. There are several reasons people may not have attended Royston Town Council s annual public meeting, one of which is that our councillors are already aware of several projects that are presently
YOU mentioned apathy in last week's Editor-at-Large column.
There are several reasons people may not have attended Royston Town Council's annual public meeting, one of which is that our councillors are already aware of several projects that are presently worrying people.
- The residents of Green Drift and the proposed development involving demolition and high density replacement building that will be the start of the death knoll for the town as we know it.
Forty people attended that meeting, more than 60 households have written endless letters. All councillors opposed the plans.
Result? North Herts District Council's planning officers recommend the plans go ahead.
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- We have the district council's planning officers and Councillor Richard Thake saying they got no response from the residents of Rock Road, North Close and other houses backing onto the Johnston Matthey site.
In fact, if you look at the JM planning application you will see on a list of people consulted by the district council that eight of the consultees were businesses around the area, and 20 were residents of Orchard Way, not a single mention of any residents of Rock Road, North Close or Minster Road, all of whom appear to back on to the development receiving a letter informing them of the proposed development.
It would appear from the information given on the council's website that these residents had not been consulted.
- Many Royston people are unhappy about the proposed O2 mast at the Telephone Exchange site. Our councillors and MP all seem to care, but can they actually stop the project?
- People are protesting about the possibility of fewer trains stopping at our railway station. People of importance make sympathetic noises but will it help?
- Some people are about to get upset over the proposal to sell off the local allotments. Will their voices be heard? In view of the money raised from the sale of the land and the money that will come from the Section 106 Planning Agreement, somehow I very much doubt it.
Now it turns out that North Herts District Council has voted through a plan to centralise all planning decisions across the district.
This means that local decisions are likely to be decided by councillors who do not even come from Royston.
If you want to protest you may have to travel miles to some other town. This means that in spite of our recent success in opposing the planning application for 16-20 Green Drift, it would now appear that when the developers return with revised plans they will in all likelihood be viewed and decided on by a centralised planning committe, many of whom will not be answerable to the voters of Royston.
Will our recent success in opposing this planning application turn out to have been a hollow victory?
It even makes you wonder whether the decision made by the area committee to defer the decision was actually taken with the knowledge that when it comes up again in the near future, the committee will not have to take complete responsibility for the decision.
When you see what we the public are up against you will understand why eventually even the most public spirited members of the community sometimes feel that perhaps they are wasting their time.