Monday, 30 November 2009

Giles McNeill Responds to Local Residents

A number of local residents have taken the time to comment on this blog or else e-mail me regarding the position I took at the Parish Council meeting held last Wednesday where the Parish Council agreed to object to the planning permission application by Lincoln Rugby Football Club.

One anonymous comment said:
"How can you as an elected representative of our village hold straw polls on you blog and blatantly go against the views and concerns of a very large proportion of village folk?"
And accused me of wanting to destroy our quiet village and of not being sufficiently disinterested in the matter.

In response I would like to say I e-mailed eight local residents to make them aware of the poll. Two I knew to be against, two in favour and four who I did not know there view. They were at liberty to circulate the e-mail. I was pleased and proud that over one hundred and seventy individuals took the time to find my blog and vote on the poll. Polls, like petitions, are always indicative; however, it supported what I was getting on the street when I talked to people in the village - there were those in favour and those against. I believe that a large proportion of the village oppose the Rugby Club's proposals. I also believe that a large proportion of the village support the Rugby Club's proposals. Which is the greater of the two It would be hard to say - although if anyone would like me to pursue a parish referendum on the matter I am prepared to investigate this. Secondly, I have no desire to turn Nettleham into a suburb of Lincoln or for the village to lose its charm and character - In fact I and my fellow councillors often feel we are fighting a losing battle against the planning authority, which often seems in chaos. Finally, I am entirely disinterested in the matter. I in no way benefit from the development nor do members of my family or close friends.

I would like to thank 'Eddie R' and 'Martin, Nettleham' for commenting in support of my actions. At the meeting the Chairman, Cllr. Terry Williams, outlined three possible motions: The Parish Council takes either a positive, neutral or negative view. In the end we only voted on a motion to object to the proposal. I voted against. Had we been given the opportunity to vote on the other suggested positions I would have voted in favour of a neutral position and against a positive position.

'Mikey' posted:
"Whatever Giles's belief is, it remains the case that Britain's planning laws cleary state that highway safety, noise and possible disturbance are all grounds for planning refusal - and these were all valid concerns raised at the meeting."
So let me be clear. I am not in favour of, nor am I opposed to the development, on grounds of planning.

I do not believe that there are planning grounds on which to object - there are certainly concerns, chief of which is traffic, but I suspect that as the Rugby Club's consultants purchased their data from Lincolnshire Highways Department I suspect that the review being conducted by the highways agency is unlikely to come to a vastly different conclusion.

I am not in favour of the proposal, however none of my objections relate to planning permission.

'Mikey' later says:
"My concern is that Giles pursues the democratic process to the best of his ability and does his utmost to put the Parish Council's case for refusal even though he would like to see Lincoln City Rugby club's new regional centre added to the village. I am sure he will."
I hope I have answered the point about my view on the Rugby Club. Mikey is entirely correct. Once the Parish Council has taken a vote on a matter members of the Parish Council should represent what the view of the Parish Council is when challenged. A certain level of collective responsibility, in my view should exist. Sadly our district representative, Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, has disagreed. Whilst I understand and accept his need to remain neutral as he serves on the planning committee at West Lindsey, nevertheless I feel their is room to represent the views of the collective Parish Council without jepardising his neutrality.

I hope that this more clearly sets out my view on this matter.

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