Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I went to an rather enjoyable Neighbourhood Forum

I went to a rather better attended Neighbourhood Forum. I was running late and missed the Police part of the evening. Cllr Thorpe ran a very good meeting with a large agenda to get through, though Cllr Chapman who was supposed to be the chair was missing. I didn't find out why!

The main topic was Wind Farms and the number of planning applications. There were many Stop the wind farms people. If they actually listened to the planning officer all there questions would be answered. The policy is a national policy. Only Parliament can change this. Having a go at the planning officer is only shooting the messenger. Where the Stop the wind farm groups need to go is Jonathan Djanogly MP and his colleagues and keep lobbying them for a change in the law.

Cllr Farrer had a spout off about the Wind Farm Policy which HDC has. What was pointed out was this is a Policy of the Conservative run HDC which the Cabinet passed back in 2006 and by Council (as part of the cabinet report) also in 2006. I understand Cllr Farrer was elected in November 2006 at a by-election so he wasn't present at this decision. This is a policy of the District Council. HDC could scrap this policy if they wish! So why doesn't Cllr Farrer start the revolt?

The Presentation on the East of St Neots Expansion was good if you are up to speed on the project. I asked a couple of questions to which I got some sort of answers. My question about pylons met with a sort of answer. The developers could bury the electricity cables beside the A428. But this isn't planning policy and is up to the current landowners and the developers to sort out.

Another question was on the Community Centres and whether they would be part of the Town Council or attached to a school. A non-committal answer to that question.

Moving onto Sustrans and the Cycle Bridge over the Great Ouse. The finish date was given as September this year.

The Fire Brigade Officer gave a very good talk about the what the Fire service does and about the forthcoming cuts.

The NHS spokesman tried his best but I don't think many realised what he was on about. It is a pity as this is actually very important. Pity he couldn't have got in just after the Police section.

Local Issues. I had quite a few but only wanted to get over the main one and that is why isn't HDC and CCC talking about the cuts and reductions in services. This is going to be a future item for the next meeting on 11th April 2011 at the Priory Centre. The other issue was car parking at The Paddocks.

I learnt something tonight. The LGA Act 1972 gave a window to parish councils of a month in which to decide whether they wanted to take over a closing churchyard or dump it on the District Council. Ramsey, Farcet and Colne acted quickly and that is why all Council taxpayers are paying for this whereas in St Neots it is our responsibility.

I have to say this was a better attended meeting than most I've been too. There were more members of the public even after the Stop the wind farms people left. It was well Chaired by Gordon Thorpe. I hope many more members of the public turn up to future meetings.

That is the crux of my argument with this forum. The sheer lack of attendance by the public. The more the public get involved the better sense this type of meeting makes.

This attendance by the public may only be an upward blip. If it is then I will go back to Neighbourhood Forums are a waste of time.

Cllr Mandy Jayne Thomas didn't attend.

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