AS we approach the May local elections with bated breath and expectant councillors, we are reminded about the need to take account of the views of the community. The Prime Minister called it ‘localism’.
Despite a concerted effort by Sawtry folk, 550 letters, 1,300 or so petitioners and support from elected leaders, a panel of three councillors sitting as a licensing committee ignored the views of a distressed community in Sawtry.
Councillors may well have cause to regret their actions, which many felt failed every reasonable test of good governance. More of this later.
Time has passed, and Pulse and Cocktails want to erect a phallic post – or totem pole in their words – in order to attract motorists going north on the A1(M). Their claim is that customers seeking them out are unable to see the premises despite the existing two-metre by 1.5-metre signs already in place.
Huntingdonshire District Council has turned down this request albeit that other signage adjacent to Toll Bar Way passed every day by buses taking children to the community college has been approved.
Paradoxically, P&C's managing director cites that the shop is “trading nicely” in order to support its continued presence but then uses the argument that lack of visibility is hindering growth. So which is it?
The reason for all this literary fisticuffs which Hunts Post readers must be heartily sick off is that P&C intends to appeal HDC's refusal to the Secretary of State for Communities, Eric Pickles. I wish them well, as the Sawtry pressure group wrote to this self same cabinet member seeking support some 13 months ago and has yet to have the courtesy of a reply – that's localism for you.
Once again, Sawtry residents, parish leaders and ordinary good folk are taking up the cudgels and reaching for the send button to object to the increased advertising and to the renewal of the licence to trade, which will be considered afresh by a new and hopefully more enlightened licensing committee at HDC in May.
Pulse and Cocktails have consistently flouted the terms of their original detailed approval and predictably are clutching at every straw to perpetuate a business that was inappropriately located and for which there was never any apparent desire or local demand.