Decision is making a mockery' of system

PUBLISHED: 13:06 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 11 May 2010

The locals said NO, our elected town councillors said NO, our elected area planning committee said NO (twice as it turned out), even the newly appointed 15-strong planning control committee said NO. Everyone agreed the development was not right for 16-20

The locals said NO, our elected town councillors said NO, our elected area planning committee said NO (twice as it turned out), even the newly appointed 15-strong planning control committee said NO.

Everyone agreed the development was not right for 16-20 Green Drift, Royston.

What happened?

After four years of being like David taking on Goliath, and fighting for something that would fit in with the character of the existing area and at the same time trying to protect our town from the onslaught of developers knocking down perfectly good houses to replace them with several much smaller houses, it would appear that the modern- day Goliath is extremely rich and influential and the Gods would appear to be on his side.

Unfortunately these Gods seem to have said: Go for it Goliath, OK.

So the houses don't meet the requirements set out by North Herts District Council, but so what?

It would appear that democracy is well and truly dead.

Which makes me think, why waste money organising elections? Why bother to spend our rates on a town council, a district council or even a county council?

When our elected representatives listen to the people who elected them and make a decision they are then overruled by out of town developers and unelected civil servants.

It would seem there is no point in local government. So why not skip the expense involved in allowing us to think we actually have a vote that counts. Give up pretending we live in a democracy.

Come to think of it why even bother with a planning process. The only people who seem to have to follow the rules are the poor ratepayers.

Someone wrote in The Crow recently about a north-south divide in Royston.

That person got it completely wrong; it isn't a north-south divide, it is developers, big money and the planning department against the man and woman in the street.

RIP democracy.

LIZ HALE, Green Drift, Royston

* I READ Mr Stacy's letter (Residents need to work together) last week.

He is right that objectors to the Green Drift plan worked together, and we have had to work very hard.

We have spent a considerable number of hours on it. In the midst of all that, a year ago I offered to help Mr Stacy with his protest, but he didn't take us up on the offer.

I doubt that it would have achieved anything, and I doubt that he will achieve anything much in future.

The planning inspector has now allowed the appeal, so that 16-20 Green Drift will be destroyed and infilled with 14 houses. Our efforts over four years have reduced the density and the number of houses from 17 to 14. Not much reward for our work.

By the strength and validity of our arguments we carried our town and district councillors with us and we have been appreciative of their support.

Conversely, the planning officers have gone against us all the way. Now the planning inspector has produced a very superficial report simply trotting out North Herts District Council's views and agreeing with them.

The Inspector acknowledges the flaws in the plan, but like the officers at the district council, has ignored them.

Every person who objected has been ignored. What kind of system is this when no weight at all is given to any valid argument put forward?

As I said in a letter The Crow published a year ago, each time a detrimental development is sanctioned, it paves the way for more of the same, and so, gradually, many of the pleasant and traditional characteristics of this town will be eroded by the planning department.

It is shameful. It is paving the way for the wanton destruction of the traditional residential roads which together make the character of our town and it seems that there is nothing we can do to stop it.

CAROLINE COATES, Green Drift, Royston

* WE were disgusted to see that the planning inspector has just approved plans for 14 houses in Green Drift, Royston although the scheme was turned down by our councillors.

This is a bleak day for Royston, because a precedent is being set that will destroy the green environment within our town.

While Government guidelines make it clear that new developments must be designed in a way that is complimentary to existing areas, the inspector has seen fit to ignore the issues created by building so intensively on top of existing gardens.

Many residents voiced their concerns about the type of development proposed, and our councillors took these into account in reaching their own conclusions.

It is appalling that the decision of our elected representatives has been overturned by a single unelected (and therefore unaccountable) person, with no connection to our town or the people who live here.

It makes a complete mockery of the system of elected representatives making decisions that affect the local area and is more appropriate to a dictatorship.

NAME and ADDRESS SUPPLIED

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