I have been collecting my thoughts in advance of the parish council meeting on Thursday night: 130305PCAgendaMarch.
The agenda is full of items that we have been discussing ever since we first convened as a newly-elected council in May 2011.
They are issues that are difficult to put to bed – so generally we talk deep into the night (while the dog sleeps at home).
1/ The Neighbourhood Plan
I still have questions about the process. How do we envisage the final negotiation with Imperial? And while I think the sharing of information has been beneficial up until now, I wonder whether we need to establish some distance in preparation for these negotiations?
I am also concerned about the funding of the plan – and have already asked for clarification regarding the above document. Councillor Shoults says that he’ll produce a detailed breakdown for the meeting.
Finally, councillors’ attention has been directed to the comments of John Claydon on Wyeweb: 130306wyewebcomments I will be pressing for an apology together with an explanation as to what exactly transpired when the wrong questionnaire was distributed.
2/ The Free School
I’ve heard from several people that ‘a decision is imminent’ on the Free School, and my hunch is that it will get the go-ahead in the Edwardian college buildings. If this is the case, I will continue to ask questions about the travel plan, the eventual size of the school, and the involvement of the local community in its management. Personally I still have questions about the process (once again) and I’m no longer too sure about whether free schools represent a good way forward nationally – but those are arguments to be had elsewhere.
At the extraordinary council meeting last Monday, we discussed Richard Boden’s letter about the suspension of Wyecycle and several people in the audience expressed concern about the state of Wyecycle’s yard at Naccolt.
Since then I have written to Mr Boden to ask about his plans to clear up the yard but thus far he hasn’t answered my question. Instead he has requested this statement to be read out to Council:
“WyeCycle are hugely disappointed that the only input our Parish Council has had to this issue is to ask about the process of shut down. Over the last year the PC has put a waste paper skips worth of literature through residents letter boxes saying that they want Wye to be ‘sustainable’, with ‘local jobs’ etc etc, yet alongside these fine words they have done nothing to support an organisation that has done more than any in Wye over the last 24 years to put the words into action. It is WyeCycle’s view that the inaction of the pc is not representative of residents wishes, and as such they have failed not just WyeCycle but the community at large.”
In response, I will state that I personally have spent hours with Richard talking through his options (which have admittedly been limited). And for the self-sufficiency exhibition back in September (which was connected to the Neighbourhood Plan and therefore to the skips-worth of literature that he refers to), I focused on another community recycling company – for the very reason that I thought that might be a way of generating renewed interest for his recycling endeavours here in Wye.
At the meeting last Monday, I heard former councillors say that they had also supported Wyecycle in the past.
Meanwhile, Ashford have issued this statement following the distribution of the Wyecycle letter: 130306ABCSTATEMENTonWyecycle
If anyone would like me to comment on any of the above issues in advance of the meeting, please contact me through the blog.