Expect more Wigwam-like decisions by too-big councils

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I READ with interest a reader’s letter, published recently in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper, concerning the plight of residents in Malton, North Yorkshire.

The planning committee of Ryedale District Council have given permission for a superstore to be built on land valued at £5 million, owned by the council.

Every single poll of public opinion has been against this decision by a factor of four to one.

Residents are deeply disturbed by the planning authority ruling in a case where it has a clear vested interest. Does this sound familiar?

A petition was sent to Eric Pickles, the government’s communities secretary, signed by 2,000, hoping he would call this matter in for objective review.

Locally, we have a similar situation with the development of Wigwam Lane playing fields in Hucknall. This land was given for the benefit of Hucknall people in their pursuit of recreational activities, and a covenant was placed upon it to that effect.

Councils have totally ignored the wishes of the donor by allowing this valuable open space to be developed. A disgraceful decision that does nothing to encourage philanthropy.

In the Dispatch two weeks ago, we were informed that Gedling Borough Council plans to build 2,100 new homes in the Hucknall area, including 1,000 on land at Top Wighay Farm that, I understand, is owned by Notts County Council, 600 north of Papplewick Lane and 579 in Bestwood Village. Other developments within Gedling include 446 in Ravenshead and 1,548 in Calverton.

Noticeably, it is the two larger proposed sites in Hucknall that have to provide 30% of affordable housing. Why not Ravenshead or Calverton? What is the criteria for this decision?

The last Labour government encouraged local councils to create more jobs. It looked good for the employment figures. Look at the office space now occupied by Ashfield District Council. As a result of more manpower, more services can be offered. We weren’t asked if we wanted these services. We were just expected to pay.

Many people now find that their council tax is like having a second mortgage. It will continue to rise disproportionately until such time that local councils are reduced to a size we can afford.

All this additional manpower comes with a significant cost to the taxpayer, not least the pension liability. So don’t be surprised to see more decisions along the line of the aforementioned.

The council will have to look at every revenue-generating stream in order to meet its ever-increasing liabilities.

The community is being sacrificed for convenience.

JOHN WISER,

Linby.

(Address supplied).