LETTER: Why I resigned from The Wong committee

The reason I have regretfully resigned as a representative of the community on The Wong committee is....

Having been part of a small team of people who worked so hard to save Stanhope Hall. We formed a sub-committee in order to negotiate with East Lindsey District Council for simple restoration work of the green open space.

In order to comply with ELDC, we gained a grant of £10,000 to fund a professional company to guide is to prepare a business plan and public consultation. This was well supported by the community. We spend many hours circulating forms and talking to hundreds of people. The conclusions were very clear. The majority supported traditional open green space as occasional use for events with the hall. Once it had been upgraded, we can also attract weddings and celebration events for income to support the hall.

One serious consideration is the lacking of car parking that will be needed with the big estates are developed. Part of The Wong (the far end) is vital for over-flow parking for Bell’s monthly sales and other events such as the very successful Christmas Fair. Not charging for it was a contributory factor in attracting thousands of visitors.

Waterlook Housing withdrew their interest in demolish Ancaster Court; and rehouse the residents who were very happy there; they had found a more suitable site further up Boston Road. (Why knock down a perfectly sound building?).

We decided to include ELDC representatives, Mr J Upsall and Mr G Sargeant to meet with the committee to have a round table discussion as to a possible compromise over the whole Wong area.

We were treated with indifference, even downright disrespect and rudeness from the start. It was clear that no objective discussion was going to take place.

We had given them full details of our requirement; to have 1/3rd as a green open space asset transferred in perpetuity as traditional open green space; approximately 1/3rd for car parking for use in the town and occasional events and Bell’s monthly sales (which bring much needed business to shops, cafes and restaurants too) and a possible 1/3rd for a small housing development along the Wong Road as it is within a conservation area.

We also want to retain the old pig pens as a museum to house some machinery and tell the history of the Cattle Market.

I appreciate ELDC is under great pressure from this Government but to keep prioritising “maximum capital” is short-sighted to say the least; the people choice is being ignored for short-sighted financial gain which will not even directly benefit Horncastle.

We pay ELDC via community council taxes to serve the community not destroy it. The Wong is NOT just any bit of land. It is a loved and valued traditional site. Now, more than ever, it is a green lung to escape the ever increasing air pollution from heavy traffic.

When an authority takes land for development they are duty bound to offer a near alternative. As this is not possible, compensation might be required.

This is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Wong Working Party.

Maureen Travers