No consultation over travellers’ sites

Heald Road, off Barden Lane, Burnley
Heald Road, off Barden Lane, Burnley

I was dismayed to read in the middle of August that the Heald Road area was being considered as a site for travellers. I was even more dismayed when my MP passed on information that a consultation on this issue began in February.

I would like to know who was consulted. The residents adjacent this area would, in my view, be interested parties; at least that would be the case if we were a democracy, which by the way we ceased to be some years ago.

However, I am led to believe proposed sites in other areas have actually had public consultation meetings. I am also led to believe this site is the preferred site. If this is the case and we have not been officially informed of the proposed site, I sense something very underhand with a distinct aroma about it. Perhaps our MP can shed some light as to the legitimacy of the “consultation” and viability of taking the issue to a higher authority.

I presume this consultation will go the way of all consultations ie the post office move and health service issues whereby you listen to people’s views and opinions and then do what you want anyway.

Consultation is a word dreamt up by the politically correct to enable organisations to push absolutely anything through by saying: “Well we entered into consultation”, when in fact, it means nothing, especially when the only medium the council uses to inform the population is via the local press. I can guarantee there will be people on Lower Manor/Mead, Heald Wood and Garswood who know nothing of this issue because they do not purchase the Express. The period for comments ends on Tuesday, October 7th, and the majority of interested parties in this area know nothing of it.

I would also be interested in the view of the local Press on issues raised in this letter. I can only imagine the council assume the whole of Burnley read the Express and if an issue is reported via this medium the “consultation” has deemed to have taken place. I find it totally unbelievable the first we should hear of this issue is in the local Press.

The document “Burnley’s local plan issues and options additional sites consultation” para 1.3.5 states: “The purpose of this consultation is to provide the public and organisations an opportunity to put forward their views”. Chance would be a fine thing! I would suggest this item has not been fulfilled when the public (interested parties) were not even informed.

Has anyone given any thought to the accompanying depression of already depressed house prices in adjacent areas? Are any of the proposed traveller sites adjacent to council members’ habitation? I think not!

I also note your sustainability assessment objectives are gobbledygook; they mean nothing and the commentaries are the language of a politically correct university student. It must have been a bit of a struggle to get all the likely effects scores to zero for all the objectives. It would be interesting to learn who carried out the survey, what their remit was and to determine if any bias was applied to the final outcome.

SA number nine: to reduce crime, disorder and fear of crime! The commentary says: “Not expected to have a direct effect on crime, which will be influenced by wider social factors and issues, such as the incorporation of lighting in the new development, Lighting of the new development! Do we not have this objective back to front? They won’t be stealing from themselves.

SA number 12: to protect and enhance the built environment and cultural heritage! The commentary says: “The site is within 1km of a number of listed buildings, including Lodge Canal Bridge and Lodge Farmhouse. Therefore, this site has potential for a minor negative effect on the setting of those assets! Negative effect on those assets! What about negative effects on the adjacent housing estates? I would comment on all the SAs but I’d need to be a university student to understand them and have as much time on my hands as a council official. All in all, it would appear the average man in the street has no say in most council dealings or should I say we do not have a say but that is what you call consultation and I have already defined that in a previous paragraph.

Mr Jack Whittaker

Lower Manor Lane, Burnley