|Green Tops meeting - a "shambles"|
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Spring Grove resident Michael Parkin told the Hebden Bridge Web, "The meeting was shambolic, badly organised and poorly directed. None of my concerns were adequately answered by Green Tops, who offered little factual information tonight."
The local community assembles near the
Yesterday evening, the Stop Green Tops demonstration marched from the Mill Pond to the Methodist Church, carrying branches from trees felled on Chainsaw Tuesday.
The church hall was packed solid with many people having to stand at the back or in the lobby. Dozens of questions were asked by people opposing the proposed development. No-one from the floor spoke in favour.
Four of the key people involved with Green Tops were finally revealed to be Phil Bradby, Mark Clyndes, Iain Tavendale and Richard Broome. They chose to sit at the front with their back to the rest of the meeting for most of the time.
The evening started with complaints about the meeting's organisation, particularly the impartiality of the chair, Eddie Scott, who is a known friend of Mark Clyndes. Because there had been no consultation over the timing and nature of the meeting, many people, including all Town and Calderdale councillors, were unable to attend.
Green Tops and its representatives were surprisingly unable to answer many of the questions asked by the community, even some apparently very simple ones. Showing a map of the site, architect Philip Bintliffe of Studio Baad was asked about vehicular access. He was unable or unwilling to even name the road on which this proposed access would take place.
Another unanswered question came from Annie Conboy, who is worried that her house may be vulnerable to damage from the proposed development as it already needed underpinning when Spring Grove was built. She wanted to know what insurance Mr. Broome carried for dealing with damage to the retaining walls or nearby houses. He was not only unable to state the amount of liability for which he is covered but also could not even provide her with the name of his insurance company.
The Green Tops team were asked how much the four bedroomed houses would be sold for. Mark Clyndes stated he "didn't know" and "had no idea".
When asked about the ecology of the site, Philip Bintliffe said that a bat survey was carried out in mid-October and found no presence of bats roosting. Challenged by Jane Thomas that this had been the wrong time of year (any survey is best done in May to July when bats are most likely to be present) he replied that "it has been a mild October".
Residents had prepared questions in advance about their concerns for the development, ranging from access issues to the structural stability of the site. Contributions from the floor were passionate and articulate.
Shelagh Whitehead, a resident of Windsor View, asked if the information Francesca Turner of the Hebden Bridge Times had given her and others - that Green Tops was a consortium of David Fletcher, Phil Bradby, Mark Clyndes, Kevin Kennedy and Richard Broome - was correct. Phil Bradby said that this was not the case and that Green Tops was not a consortium.
Jane Cannon of Windsor Road asked Mark Clyndes why he didn't intervene when, on "Chainsaw Tuesday", there was an attempt to fell a protected tree which had her son in it - an incident that had greatly distressed her and those who witnessed it. Jane said she had video footage available of Mark Clyndes in the immediate vicinity of the tree. Doing nothing to intervene could have led to the serious injury of her son. Mr. Clyndes answered by saying "it was a hectic day".
Richard Solfed of Calderdale Social Forum said in response to Philip Bintliffe's presentation that Green Tops were acting like mill owners of the past who brought prosperity only to themselves at a cost to the wider community. In trying to force through this project with no popular support Green Tops, and their partners, were acting in an unsustainable manner, he said.
The meeting ended 9:45pm with no meeting of opinions or minds.
Mad Hatter's Tea Party - a sideways look at the meeting.
Background to the Mill Pond issuesuse our discussion forum .