From Graham Barker
Head of Regeneration Adrian Rose in the frame again. The same Adrian Rose who in November 2007 reportedly 'allowed "false evidence'' to be presented to a public inquiry in an attempt to force through the [compulsory] purchase order' on Sugden's Mill in Brighouse. See Yorkshire Post article.
The Sugden's Mill CPO dispute and subsequent enquiry was by all accounts extremely acrimonious. The YP article includes this:
'And in a strongly worded letter sent by [solicitors] Hammonds to the Secretary of State earlier this week the solicitors savagely attacked Mr Rose's credibility. They said: "On the basis of the information set out above it would appear the evidence now is that the council's officer responsible for the project, Mr Rose, has deliberately misled the inquiry to try to get the CPO confirmed. In substance it appears the council has attempted to obtain the CPO by fraud...''
From Laura W
First of all "Well done" to whoever leaked this document, a knowledge of which is very much in the public interest.
What immediately struck me personally about it was that there is virtually no mention of the utter horror that Phillip Bintcliffe ultimately decided to erect in Tanpits, nor any mention of the fact that there will be a building not 12 metres but a mere 4 metres, at the most, directly in front of Crossley Terrace and attached to the existing mill wall. Yet no one even reflects upon the fact that our human rights might be an issue.
From Paul D
I know the design is not to everyone's taste, but is this really a 'human rights' issue? We're not being bombed by F16s and denied humanitarian relief, or held in orange catsuits with welding goggles on listening to Queen played through headphones very loudly. It's possibly aesthetically offensive to some, may intrude on the view from others' living rooms - but come on - let's put it in perspective.
And as for the quid - this is quite common. Wasn't there similar arrangements for Nutclough, Bridge Mill and Hebble End works? All of these were collapsing into the ground and the current town rotter (or is he now simply an abuser of human rights?) David Fletcher was far-sighted enough to be involved in their development. Not to my liking, not what I would have chosen, but hey I've been a while either sat on my backside, working and/or raising my kids as others got down to the actual graft. I've watched the stunning waterwheel at Mayroyd rot into the Calder and done nothing. Some people just try harder than me, so let's give them some respect is my point.
From Jacob G
I'm not clear who you are suggesting we give some respect, Paul? This development will substantially alter amenities, geography and appearance of Hebden Bridge; detrimentally, in the views of very significant numbers of people directly effected by it. It is surely those views that deserve some respect?
From Graham Barker
I had hoped that in this thread we could move on from discussing the merits or otherwise of the development and David Fletcher, as we've given that theme an exhaustive going over already.
To me, the leaked Garden Street document opens up a much wider issue. It speaks volumes about Calderdale MBC's idea of democracy, which seems to consist of a handful of councillors and officers making decisions that ignore public opinion and are deliberately kept from scrutiny. I'm worried about the ease with which the excuse of commercial confidentiality can be used to prevent the disclosure of information about the spending of public money, the award of contracts or the disposal of publicly-owned assets.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with a deal that would sell Garden Street for a pound (though that is normally done only when the thing being sold is more of a liability than an asset, which hardly applies to Garden Street). My complaint is that there is no good reason why this proposal shouldn't have been made public at the time. How much more is there squirreled away in a CMBC drawer marked 'commercial confidentiality' that we should be told about without having to rely on brave individuals willing to leak documents?
From Laura W
Just to clarify where I got the idea of human rights issues from: it was from Calderdale's own Group Director of Regeneration and Development in the report accessed from Hebweb's Home Page. I quote "Options Considered Paragraph 5.2".
"In view of the objections and likely challenge under Human Rights Legislation concerning potential loss of privacy to adjacent residential properties, the other option would be to not proceed with any redevelopment of the site at this time ".
Unfortunately as we all now know they decided not to go for this option.
Incidentally anyone in the Facebook Group against this development might be interested to read an account of what happened in the town centre of Bray near Dublin when the money ran out half way through a major building project - something which seems like an increased possibility in Hebden after the recent months of financial downturn.
From Anthony Rae
All objections have to be posted or sent electronically by next Weds 28th January Your comments go direct to the independent Inspector of the Public Inquiry.
From Paul D
I know uttering Calderdale MBC and democracy in the same breath is often a struggle, but this issue of commercial confidentiality may be legitimate. Some things we might like to know we don't get to - and for good reason. For example, it can be a criminal offence for two contractors to collude on costings, where collusion does take place, the public usually ends up being ripped off. Collusion is the cancer of procurement - so at times privacy is essential.
And I can see that privacy is a human right - but does this extend to the possibility that soembody may look (if they can be bothered) into your window from across the street? Most of the town is set out with houses facing each other, overlooking each other, on top or underneath each other. Some very bored perv with a very strong telescope could sit on heigthts road and see straight into my bathroom? Goodness me! Call the police! So privacy here has two strands - the terror of being observed and the insistence on knowing all - both a bit weird in my view.
From Anthony Rae
The number of Online Objections is fast approaching 50, with lots of thoughtful personal comments. Thanks for this and if you haven't already objected please consider doing so - just click on the links in my previous posting two above this one. You've got to next Wednesday 28th January.
All the other aspects of preparing for the public inquiry are going well as we await the announcement of the date.
See also: Hebweb Feature on Garden Street