HINCKLEY AND BOSWORTH BEST VALUE SURVEY

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HINCKLEY AND BOSWORTH BEST VALUE SURVEY

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:57 am

Following last nights meeting I have sent the following e-mail or letter to all the Borough Councillors except Ozzy and Chris.

Dear Councillor .....,

I am very concerned about the proposed traveller site at Thornton. As part of the consultation process I will send in a letter outlining my main concerns. Although my concerns will not be original as they just repeat the views of so many others which have already been widely publicised in the newspapers and on television.

However, I am contacting you now to raise your awareness of some other pertinent issues relating to Thornton and Bagworth Parish.

"Out of all the priority neighbourhoods in Hinckley and Bosworth, residents in the Bagworth and Thornton monitoring area indicated the lowest perception of control over decision making" - Hinckley and Bosworth -Best Value Survey
In the executive summary of Bagworth and Thornton Neighbourhood Profile 2007 it stated
"Results of the Best Value User Satisfaction Survey (USS) indicated a definite need by residents to be more involved in local decision making"
The Leicestershire Rural Partnership used funding to produce Bagworth and Thornton Parish Plan 2008.

Concerns raised in Bagworth and Thornton Parish Plan PRIOR TO PROPOSED TRAVELLER SITE included -

  • Major concerns about the safety of reservoir road - a whole page in the parish plan detailed with graphs etc
    General concerns about traffic in the parish i.e. congestion, lack of space for parking etc
    "Travelling community - There are many issues regarding the activities of the travellers and discontent with the lack of meaningful response from the Borough Council regarding planning issues"
    Dissatisfaction regarding the quality of public services
    "No primary care provision based within the parish"
    "There is a lack of facilities to service new and existing housing in the parish"
    Very limited public transport-residents are dependant on personal transport


And what did the parish say about the reservoir?

"
  • 33% of the parish visit the reservoir every week"
    "Respondents thought that the reservoir brought economic benefits to the community"
    Residents feedback was "it made Thornton "feel special", beautiful countryside was for everyone to enjoy and residents were glad other people enjoyed it."

All of this strength of local feeling was in black and white prior to any proposal to situate a 10 pitch site next to the reservoir.

Why waste time and money asking people to participate in a parish plan and then totally ignore it? It would be better not to ask us in the first place!

Recently I have attended a couple of the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council "Have Your Say" meetings. The manner in which they have been conducted has been very disappointing. Officers have handled the situation with a lack of sensitivity and at times it seems that they have tried to pitch communities against each other i.e. "if you don't have it in Thornton it will have to go to Markfield" I may be cynical but it appears to me that Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is just once again going through the motions. You will hold consultation meetings because you are required to but are you going to let us "have our say" and then like the parish plan just ignore it anyway?

The general feeling of the communities on the edge of this borough is that you are not interested in us - but you already know that because it is highlighted in the Best Value Survey. Hinckley and Bosworth should not just concentrate on Hinckley and the immediate surrounding area. The areas you are neglecting are areas which are nationally recognised. Thornton is in The National Forest and The New Charnwood Forest Park. We expect the council to protect and preserve the area. Please listen to us and act now.

I realise that as a borough councillor you are a busy person. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would really appreciate your personal comments on this matter.

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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Response to e-mail from Councillor Bray

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:59 am

Thank you for your email.

Have you forwarded these comments to the address for representations? ldf@hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk is the email address if you haven’t done so.

I can assure you that we will listen to the representations – you asked for my personal view and that is I have a great deal of sympathy with the comments being made by people in Thornton. The site in Thornton was put forward by the owner of the land – not the Borough Councillors – which has been suggested by some – but it is clear to me the views of local residents.

To be perfectly honest with you, I am so angry that our Council is having to find so many gypsy & traveller pitches. The previous Conservative Council agreed to take this amount back in April 2007. Myself and Council Officers have been arguing that we have more than our fair share and that the number should be reduced. We have launched a campaign calling for them to be reduced. Residents can sign the petition online by visiting http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/housesandtravellernumbers

Stuart Bray

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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Reply to Councillor Bray

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:00 am

Dear Mr Bray,

Thank you getting back to me so quickly. I really appreciate it.

The owner of the land stood up in front of approx three hundred people and suggested that he was approached by Hinckley and Bosworth. We are fully aware that this is incorrect.

However, one person's expression of interest surely should not take sole priority. The location of the proposed site so obviously flies in the face of current national guidelines including the ODPM circular regarding Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites and National Planning Policy 7 and it contradicts many of the Borough Council's own policies. In addition to this it is widely known that the parish of Thornton and Bagworth already has the majority of existing traveller sites. I can not see why, taking all of this into consideration, Borough Councillors still felt it was appropriate to name it as a preferred site. Personally, I do not think that the proposal will go ahead because the government inspector will find that it does not conform to the East Midlands Spatial Strategy. However, my hope is that Borough Councillors will not let it get to that stage and hopefully you will all have the sense and good grace to withdraw the proposal from the final plan.

I appreciate the difficulty of finding appropriate traveller sites and agree that the number of sites should be reduced.

Once again thank you for your time and as aIready stated I will put together a full letter of my concerns as part of the consultation process.

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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RESPONSE TO E-MAIL FROM THE MAYOR

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:02 am

I am the mayor of HBBC and therefore non political, although I was elected on the Lib-dem ticket. I have been through this Q & A process with the Groby protesters and because I answered their e-mail enquiries I was in the end subjected to threats and abuse. I do learn from experience and will cease as soon as the consultation gets nasty.

I have requested that I have a tour of the Thorton area as Mayor and I am coming in the near future. So I can make my own mind up. Listening is a two way process and that is what consultation is all about.

1. It has been agreed that there will be an eight week consultation process where the council listens to the views of all involved. It is unkind to suggest that the council is some how kidding people about this consultation process.
2. In 2006 the then present administration said to the government that they would agree to site 37 traveler pitches (a pitch being two vans a touring van and a shed) in Hinckley and Bosworth. The present administration has tried to reduce this number but the government are saying that this should have been done in 2006. However, the present administration are hopeful that numbers will be reduced.
3. I think that the reservoir site is a bit of a red herring as I have been told that the preposed travellers site is two miles towards Markfield?
4. Through the concultation process the present administration has found at least 4 sites where people are willing to accommodate travelers.
5. The whole process may well be turned on its head as with falling land prices travellers are now snapping up parcels of land and there will use these as travellers sites. We then use these as our official traveller sites. Try and stop land owners selling to travellers and hpe that one land owner does not live in Thornton.
6. Through the consultation process it seems that (this is only my opinion) Thornton is going down the list of options for a variety of reasons. We don't just consult with protesters!
7. I'm a great fan of Thornton and use the walk round the reservoir often, it's a great asset. The travellers sites have been dumped on the present administration, it cannot be ignored, it won't go away and it must be dealt with in a common sense way. It's a good exercise to try and find 15 sites in HBBC without the possibility of upsettin someone.

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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REPLY SENT TO MAYOR

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:04 am

Dear Mr Bannister,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I really appreciate it.

I am very sorry to hear you have been subjected to threats and abuse.

I am really pleased to hear that you will be visiting the proposed site in Thornton. You will find that it is not 2 miles towards Markfield but is actually proposed in a field which is within close proximity of the reservoir and will be at the main entrance to the village. This is the same area that was highlighted in Thornton Settlement Character when independent environmental consultants detailed recommendations to "promote and enhance the southern entrance to the village along Thornton Reservoir"

Many people agree with you about Thornton Reservoir being a real asset. In fact the council have identified the "land in the vicinity of Thornton and Thornton Reservoir" as being "particularly attractive countryside" - Hinckley and Bosworth Local Plan.

I am really pleased to hear that in your opinion Thornton appears to be going down in the list of options for many reasons. The location of the proposed site so obviously flies in the face of current national guidelines including the ODPM circular regarding Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites and National Planning Policy 7 and it contradicts many of the Borough Council's own policies. In addition to this it is widely known that the parish of Thornton and Bagworth already has the majority of existing traveller sites. I can not see why, taking all of this into consideration, Borough Councillors still felt it was appropriate to name it as a preferred site. Personally, I do not think that the proposal will go ahead because the government inspector will find that it does not conform to the East Midlands Spatial Strategy. However, my hope is that Borough Councillors will not let it get to that stage and they will have the sense and good grace to withdraw the proposal from the final plan.

I appreciate the difficulty of finding appropriate traveller sites as it is a contentious issue. There is a need for more sites and it is a very difficult job deciding where they should go. Travellers like anyone else deserve a decent place to live. However, just because one traveller registers an expression of interest he should not have permission to develop and spoil a beautiful area of countryside which is enjoyed by so many people.

Once again thank you for your time and as aIready stated I will put together a full letter of my concerns as part of the consultation process.

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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Response from Councillor Richards

Post  Keep Thornton Beautiful on Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:15 am

Dear ***** Firstly my apologises for the delay in replying to your email. I to share your concerns as to the proposed Travellers sites in HBB and I have been very active and vocal on this issue, but this is a directive from the government to which local councils have to adhere to. And the council in HBB is a Liberal controlled council and they make the decisions along with the officers as to where they are sited. As a Consevative councillor for Earl Shilton I shall continue to voice my many concerns on issues that you have raised in your email regarding Thornton and Bagworth, as I do in Earl Shilton and on many rural issue that need addressing.
Cllr Janice Richards.

Keep Thornton Beautiful

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