Garden Street leak - David Fletcher's response

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Hebden Bridge Web has today received a statement from David Fletcher's company, Hebden Royd Development in response to the document leaked to the Hebden Bridge Web.

See Hebweb News - Garden Street sold for a pound for details of this leak.

The statement reads as follows:

"Those senior officers or elected councillors who may have leaked this report show themselves to be unreliable, dishonourable and unworthy to be appointed or elected to our local authority. Efforts should be made to identify them before they leak something really important - which the Garden Street report is not. As the Council have already stated, the proposals of this 2005 report were not implemented. The Council chose to institute a different arrangement, more beneficial to themselves and the community.

People who leak reports and people who chose to use these leaks, clearly do so for a purpose. They have their own agenda. They rarely tell the whole story but selectively use the leak, quoting half truths in support of their agenda.

This is the case here. Mr Rae accuses the Calderdale Cabinet of incompetence, claiming incorrectly that they were prepared to sell land which he values at £500,000 for £1 plus a hypothetical profit share.

This is not even a half truth, but a complete piece of fiction. Do he and Councillor Fekri really believe the Cabinet to be so foolish?

The current Garden Street Car Park project has many high value returns to the Council and the community, viz:

  • 105 additional long and short stay car parking spaces
  • Reconstruction of a significant length of the high retaining wall to Commercial Street (essential if anything is to be built on Garden Street and insured) plus responsibility for its future management - forever.
  • 3 affordable homes
  • 2000m2  of pedestrian public open space plus cycle facilities
  • A contribution of almost £500,000 towards other Council services - education and open spaces
  • A possible profit share - if there is any !

These benefits total a great deal more than the amount quoted by Mr Rae. He knows this. Councillor Fekri knows this. All the information is in the public domain. They simply chose not to acknowledge it. It does not support their agenda or their plans.

Perhaps they are embarrassed by the size of the public benefit.

Perhaps it is excessive? Certainly the size of the Council's price tag is responsible for the intensity of the development.

Perhaps this is why the financial sustainability of the project is questioned?

Given that the current application is for outline planning consent only and will need to be followed by detailed plans, conservation area consent and building control approval, it will probably be 2011/2012 before a practical start could be made.

However, if current financial circumstances persist it will certainly need to be carefully value-engineered. House prices have fallen - but so have construction costs. Benefits all round.

Times like these, with rising unemployment, are not the time to cancel a £10million investment in the local economy, especially for an iconic landmark project breaking new ground in environmental sustainability.

The town, the community and the Council have much to gain from this project. Now is the time to close ranks and engage in constructive dialogue about our differences rather than return to previous confrontational patterns."

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