Angry St Neots cllrs attack town report

ANGRY councillors in St Neots have claimed their views about a vision outlining the future development of the town are being ignored. The St Neots Health Check report, commissioned by Huntingdonshire District Council, highlights what additional infrastr

ANGRY councillors in St Neots have claimed their views about a vision outlining the future development of the town are being ignored.

The St Neots Health Check report, commissioned by Huntingdonshire District Council, highlights what additional infrastructure is needed to make St Neots a 'healthier' place.

The report has been drawn up to help the town cope with further expansion - between 1,480 and 2,300 homes by 2026.

The report highlights the absence of a cinema, a purpose-built theatre and the lack of central hotel accommodation as well as stressing the need to improve the fashion, food and drink sector.

But town councillors have hit out at the report, saying that less than 10 per cent of their ideas have been included.

Cllr Jennifer Bird told a meeting of the town council: "When I received the health check report on my e-mail I was absolutely horrified. Not even 10 per cent of what we asked for has been included."

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She wants a retail park, similar to those in Huntingdon, to be added to the wish-list along with a new swimming pool.

Cllr Bird also believes that the vision should seek to protect the town's green spaces, provide more facilities for youth and add more A3 retail units to attract national restaurant chains.

Other town councillors felt they had not been properly consulted.

Cllr Derek Giles said: "I was absolutely appalled by the town council's lack of involvement in this process. This should really be a bottom-up affair with the town council having more of a say as we are closest to the people of the town.

"This document is so important to the future of our town and we have to get it right."

However, Cllr Paul Ursell, who is also a district councillor, stressed that it was an interim report.

"I think the report is very constructive," he said. "Any feedback will be taken away and worked on."

The town council agreed to submit a report to the authors of the vision, about what they believe should be included.

They also suggested councillors write to HDC to make their views known.

A spokesman for HDC said: "This is not the end document it is an interim report and it is still being worked on. It is a work in progress."

The St Neots Health Check report is due to be published in May.

INFORMATION: A presentation on the Health Check will be given by Steve Ingram, HDC's head of planning services, on May 6 at 7pm at the Priory Centre. Any questions should be submitted before the meeting to: Helen King, Council Offices, The Priory, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 2BH or e-mailed to helen.king@stneots-tc.gov.uk

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