I WRITE in response to week’s editorial regarding the decision to not proceed with a planning application for the Beacon at Hilton (Beacon plan extinguished).
The history of the beacon is:
The original idea was brought to the attention of a councillor by the then parish clerk who gave him a leaflet showing the tradition of beacons to mark historic events. It was decided, by the then council, to erect the beacon on a temporary basis to mark the Jubilee. The event went even better than expected with the late evening beacon having a unifying effect to mark this wonderful occasion.
Then the beacon was taken down and many villagers contacted the council asking why it wasn't a permanent memorial to the occasion. It was decided to ask the village what they thought, so a survey was conducted by the parish council and 89.2 per cent of the village respondents wanted it made permanent in the same position. The questions in the survey were discussed and agreed councillors and parishioners alike in an open session. How more democratic can a decision be?
It was decided, by the council, to seek planning permission and by doing so it was felt that any doubts about it being lawful would be either raised or dispelled. The application was put in and it had been made clear that, despite the objections, planning was to be recommended for approval by the planning department on March 18, thus making it a lawful structure. This was in the public domain.
On March 4, one public objector, who had very recently joined the parish council, brought a motion to the table to have this planning application removed before it was passed by Huntingdonshire District Council. This motion was carried by a majority and it was promptly cancelled.
In your editorial it states that it was because of the historic preservation of the Green. History does not show that! They have built a cricket pavilion in the recent past and are even debating whether to put up a container for storage at the back of it. How historic! They also state there were a significant number of objectors - 19 out of 413 properties sent objections to HDC, 4.6 per cent and of those only one can see the beacon from their home.
The Green is littered with things that are not pleasing to the eye - dog waste bins, benches everywhere, rope on sticks around the maze and cricket square, and even last year's remains of the bonfire.
All the work, which the council wanted to avoid for the planners, had been done and they were fully aware of that, so it's not correct to use that as an excuse for withdrawal.
In my opinion the decision to withdraw this was purely based on the personal views of parish council members and they had ignored the wishes of the villagers which goes totally against their remit as they should represent the village and the parishioners.
We can all live in the past but we should all embrace change.
This decision casts doubt on those councillors who voted this through in the first instance. I feel the decision should be changed, now, before this splits this village, I was about to say down the middle, but 4.9 per cent is not the middle.