LETTER: Time for new blood on Horncastle Town Council

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As we approach May 2015, and the District and Town Council elections, being held alongside the General Election, Horncastle will have the opportunity to change the Town Council for the better. Several articles, in the 18 February Horncastle News, highlight the incompetence of the current Town Council

Cllr Roark insisted in his report in December, that the tree at the top of West Street should be removed, it was the wrong species and was causing root damage. He had failed to establish that the tree came under LCC responsibility, was the correct species for its location but LCC acknowledged that the root damage would be addressed. The tree would NOT be felled, which Cllr Roark had insisted on. This is not a responsible report and no apology has been forthcoming from Cllr Roark for misleading the Town Council.

According to the press, Cllr Roark rubbished Cllr Attwood’s support of Dr David Lawrence’s paper on the omission of zoning and development sites in the NHDP and questioned the qualifications of Dr Lawrence as being relevant. Once again Cllr Roark shows his lack of knowledge as Dr Lawrence’s qualifications are clearly stated in the Town Plan 2007-9 which he supported as a member of the Town Council.

He obviously didn’t read the Town Plan. This is pure incompetence, and brings into question his judgement, similar to his failure to represent the Town Council, as Mayor, at the November 2011 Remembrance Day Parade, preferring instead to go Go-Karting and bring the Town into disrepute through the national press.

The Town Council, at the January Council meeting, rejected calls for the Neighbourhood Development Plan to be expanded to include site locations and zoning for not just housing but commercial, industrial and possibly retail development and additional amenity facilities.

Cllrs Roark, Williams and Aron, are members of the NHDP Working Group, and together with the majority of the Town Council do not believe that the allocation and zoning of sites is necessary despite the Government Inspector for the Langton Hill Appeal stating the NHDP carried little weight based on this omission. These individuals have let the Town down badly.

What it may possibly mean for the Town is future speculative development, especially housing, will not be challenged, as the NHDP only deals with “Design Issues” , a statement made by the NHDP Chair at the Langton Hill Appeal.

The Town Council and the NHDP Working Group have committed the Town to 15 years of uncontrolled development when the Plan could have set the parameters for sensible, controlled and balanced growth. My concerns were supported by fellow professional Dr Lawrence, FRICS, but our experience is ignored by the small minded majority on the Town Council.

The Town Council members seem to be incapable of taking positive action for the benefit of the Town and will always find reasons not to do something in a very negative way. Cllr Lamb’s well quoted statements that “the Town is like Dodge City” and “no better than a third rate country”, epitomises his and his cronies attitude. What message does that send out about Horncastle. They are not worthy to represent the Town in the future

At February’s Council meeting the pigeon problem was discussed again, with the same negative and worthless comments implying there is not a solution. Councillor Baker thought the use of hawks would upset some members of the public.

The Council is elected to address these problems not find excuses to walk away from them. It continues to be a serious health hazard throughout the Town Centre.

A letter I wrote to the Council nearly 2 years ago, when I was on the Council, containing 10 points that the Council needed to address, some directly and some through ELDC and LCC all remain outstanding, except one. This is a classic example of inaction, lack of interest and “too much like hard work” to deal with by our local LLC councillor Aron and our 3 ELDC Ward councillors and the Town Council.

Recent articles and letters in the News have highlighted the problems that the Stanhope Hall have had with resignations by Board members related to the unacceptable Chairmanship of W Aron.

The same is true of the Wong Working Group were W Aron is also the self elected Chairman and has refused to work to the instructions of the Committee.

His disdain for loyal supporters who voted for him in the County elections and then abandoning the Independent party to join the Conservatives, who rewarded him with the Chairmanship of the LCC, merely sums up the treacherous and devious way this individual treats people who he is supposed to represent. Use your vote wisely in May to rid the Town of these unscrupulous individuals.

The time is fast approaching to ensure these ineffective and self centred individuals are voted off the Town Council and I appeal to residents of Horncastle to stand as candidates to bring about change and a Council that will work for the Town and not for their own limited and narrow minded approach which has dogged the Council for too many years.

Richard Barker, RIBA

Horncastle