Council woe

THE Tesco and Sainsbury’s planning applications have opened a window on to the workings of our town council and I am alarmed, I suspect many other residents of Ledbury feel the same way.

It does not actually matter whether one supported the applications or not, that is irrelevant. What has shocked me is the behaviour of some of the councillors.

Thank goodness we have real ‘stars’ on the TC, those who are discreet and do not continually give statements to the press, who listen to the people of Ledbury, do their ‘homework’ and quietly make up their minds about issues brought before them.

They are in the minority.

Unfortunately there are councillors who, confronted with issues that were destined to live or die on legal planning grounds alone, did not even bother to read the planning applications.

This much was very evident from the comments and opinions expressed in public and in private.

Few town councillors could claim a legitimate reason during voting on both sets of applications for abstaining, but abstain they did.

This was the single most serious issue to confront Ledbury in years, with the welldocumented effect that out-of-town superstores have on small market towns.

Several councillors voted against the first application from Tesco. Like most people I assumed they had realised the application was flouting most aspects of current planning law.

As a few of those individuals voted ‘for’ an identical planning application i.e.

Sainsbury’s, what do we now think in retrospect of their first vote?

In supporting the Sainsbury application were they perhaps Jamie Oliver fans, or did they prefer orange to blue stripes ?

The one certainty, whichever side you support, is that they were not taking a professional and objective, as opposed to an emotional, decision in either instance.

Is it now time for a change? Time to jettison the dinosaurs and let people who wish to serve on the TC explain in the context of a free election how their individual acumen, experience and expertise can help Ledbury move and evolve forwards rather than stand still or fall backwards ?


MARY BAXTER
Ledbury

Comments (8)

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10:22am Thu 15 Mar 12

Deborah Baker says...

Yes, I agree, you tube gave us a great insight into some of the members workings.
As for the silly comment about colour and why, well each to their own, your blue, Im orange, it suits me better. Keep up the good work Ledbury Folk, stand tall, be counted and don't let those with tunneled vision tell us what we need or want. Now is the time to do so. You don't need to be university educated to know what this town needs and wants, and your voice does matter, especially at local elections.
Yes, I agree, you tube gave us a great insight into some of the members workings. As for the silly comment about colour and why, well each to their own, your blue, Im orange, it suits me better. Keep up the good work Ledbury Folk, stand tall, be counted and don't let those with tunneled vision tell us what we need or want. Now is the time to do so. You don't need to be university educated to know what this town needs and wants, and your voice does matter, especially at local elections. Deborah Baker

10:53am Thu 15 Mar 12

Snoopbunny says...

I think it is time we had a town council that actually represented the people of the town, rather than a few traders who mostly shop out of town!

The majority of Ledbury people were in favour of a large supermarket, if we had had a referendum the town council would have been in no doubt what the townfolks wanted - rather than what tourists wanted!

It is an opportunity missed, but we will get our supermarket on appeal, we just have to be patient and continue to shop in Malvern, Gloucester, Ross and Hereford!
I think it is time we had a town council that actually represented the people of the town, rather than a few traders who mostly shop out of town! The majority of Ledbury people were in favour of a large supermarket, if we had had a referendum the town council would have been in no doubt what the townfolks wanted - rather than what tourists wanted! It is an opportunity missed, but we will get our supermarket on appeal, we just have to be patient and continue to shop in Malvern, Gloucester, Ross and Hereford! Snoopbunny

2:32pm Thu 15 Mar 12

Terri1963 says...

Maybe Mary Baxter is expert in all things Ledbury but the town councillors voted as they felt they should, which I believe is their right. It must have shook the Against's campaigne though as it was such a close call.
I do think that those that live in glass houses really shouldn't throw stones & these very councillors were no doubt the best ever when they voted in favour with the Against in the Tesco vote, funny that but hey ho! I think Ledbury people were sure they were going to finally get a new store & came so very close, Sainsbury needed to address some issues which LESS could do nothing about but where would we have been had this already happened prior to the planning meeting!
Keep going Ledbury people & Ledbury will have it's new Sainsbuys!
Maybe Mary Baxter is expert in all things Ledbury but the town councillors voted as they felt they should, which I believe is their right. It must have shook the Against's campaigne though as it was such a close call. I do think that those that live in glass houses really shouldn't throw stones & these very councillors were no doubt the best ever when they voted in favour with the Against in the Tesco vote, funny that but hey ho! I think Ledbury people were sure they were going to finally get a new store & came so very close, Sainsbury needed to address some issues which LESS could do nothing about but where would we have been had this already happened prior to the planning meeting! Keep going Ledbury people & Ledbury will have it's new Sainsbuys! Terri1963

4:08pm Thu 15 Mar 12

Colin J Marschall says...

Interestingly Mrs Baxter this is what the Goverment guidelines say about Town councillors

"A councillor is elected by the local community and is there to represent its views."

I'd be interested in who you feel are "real ‘stars’ on the TC" I would take a bet that none of the ones who voted in favour are on your list.
Interestingly Mrs Baxter this is what the Goverment guidelines say about Town councillors "A councillor is elected by the local community and is there to represent its views." I'd be interested in who you feel are "real ‘stars’ on the TC" I would take a bet that none of the ones who voted in favour are on your list. Colin J Marschall

2:01pm Fri 16 Mar 12

Andrew Warmington says...

Leaving aside the referendum that was demanded and then withdrawn, it has often been asserted that the vast majority of Ledbury people wanted the new supermarket. However, simply saying something over and over again doesn't make it true.

In the run-up to Herefordshire Council's vote on 22 February, large numbers of us wrote and emailed the councillors and/or planning officers one way or the other. In fact, getting on for half of the adult population of Ledbury did. The numbers were about 1,400 for and 2,400 against as of shortly before the vote. Ledbury has about 9,400 people, children included.

The numbers writing is strong testament to the strength of feeling on both sides, as well as the commitment of activists. It is almost unheard of for so high a number of those affected by a local issue to actively express their views in this way. Statistically speaking, though, precisely because of this, it is likely that the numbers who wrote are roughly representative of the true state of opinion and that our collective opinion is about 2:1 against.
Leaving aside the referendum that was demanded and then withdrawn, it has often been asserted that the vast majority of Ledbury people wanted the new supermarket. However, simply saying something over and over again doesn't make it true. In the run-up to Herefordshire Council's vote on 22 February, large numbers of us wrote and emailed the councillors and/or planning officers one way or the other. In fact, getting on for half of the adult population of Ledbury did. The numbers were about 1,400 for and 2,400 against as of shortly before the vote. Ledbury has about 9,400 people, children included. The numbers writing is strong testament to the strength of feeling on both sides, as well as the commitment of activists. It is almost unheard of for so high a number of those affected by a local issue to actively express their views in this way. Statistically speaking, though, precisely because of this, it is likely that the numbers who wrote are roughly representative of the true state of opinion and that our collective opinion is about 2:1 against. Andrew Warmington

11:34am Sat 17 Mar 12

Colin J Marschall says...

Come now Mr. Warmington you know as well as I do statistics can be used to say almost anything required, or as the quote goes ""Lies, damned lies, and statistics" .. its all based on the questions asked and the actual people asked. If I was to ask a member of public who did not have the full information "Do you want a shed built on the edge of the town that will destroy the high street and create job losses" they would answer no, however if I asked the same person "Would you like to have more choice from a new supermarket built on the edge of town with easy access and creating upto 200 jobs, also allowing a Ledbury company to expand into a new purpose built facility" under the same conditions the answer would be yes. Statistics are rarely reliable.
Come now Mr. Warmington you know as well as I do statistics can be used to say almost anything required, or as the quote goes ""Lies, damned lies, and statistics" .. its all based on the questions asked and the actual people asked. If I was to ask a member of public who did not have the full information "Do you want a shed built on the edge of the town that will destroy the high street and create job losses" they would answer no, however if I asked the same person "Would you like to have more choice from a new supermarket built on the edge of town with easy access and creating upto 200 jobs, also allowing a Ledbury company to expand into a new purpose built facility" under the same conditions the answer would be yes. Statistics are rarely reliable. Colin J Marschall

6:19pm Sat 17 Mar 12

Andrew Warmington says...

That's a giant red herring. Statistics can indeed be very misleading and can vary a lot with how you frame the question. However, in this case, about half of Ledbury's adult population wrote in unprompted, in their own words, without a question being directly asked of them. Such a response is very unusual and suggestive.
That's a giant red herring. Statistics can indeed be very misleading and can vary a lot with how you frame the question. However, in this case, about half of Ledbury's adult population wrote in unprompted, in their own words, without a question being directly asked of them. Such a response is very unusual and suggestive. Andrew Warmington

11:39am Sun 18 Mar 12

Colin J Marschall says...

Again without seeing the raw data no one can really know the actual figures involved.
Again without seeing the raw data no one can really know the actual figures involved. Colin J Marschall

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