I WAS shocked and saddened that one of the members at the St Neots Town Council meeting on June 6, Councillor Derek Giles, chose to question the validity of a member of the public being there and raising a question in the 15-minute open forum, on the basi
I WAS shocked and saddened that one of the members at the St Neots Town Council meeting on June 6, Councillor Derek Giles, chose to question the validity of a member of the public being there and raising a question in the 15-minute open forum, on the basis that he lives in Little Paxton. The gentleman in question was in fact Ken Churchill, county councillor for Little Paxton and St Neots North. Clearly, as his title suggests, Cllr Churchill has an unequivocal legitimacy to raise points at such a session.
However, looking at a broader picture, is Mr Giles saying that residents of Little Paxton, most of whom use St Neots on a regular basis, have no right to raise issues of concern at future council meetings? To me, this would appear to be a very narrow-minded approach, especially when the economic benefits that Little Paxton brings to the town are considered.
I was also highly disappointed to hear that the Liberal Democrat party does not have a plan for the town as they had promised in their electoral addresses. Cllr Thorpe, leader of the Lib Dems, denied that the plan for the town in the literature was intended to be adopted by the council as a whole.
I find it strange that The Hunts Post is able to report that the Lib Dems are able to promise a multiplex cinema, a theatre and meeting room complex, a library and an outdoor swimming pool at a cost of £6million (June 6). At the council meeting the town clerk reported that it was a "fact" that St Neots was too small for a cinema and that it is necessary to deal with economic reality.
And the dithering of which you accuse the previous council would include much work by former mayor, Cllr Paul Ursell, in meeting with cinema contractors and consulting the public - work that the current council is now able to move forward. I find it amazing that such glaring omissions have been made by a publication that has any aspirations to be taken seriously.
SIMON BURTON, Beezling Close, Eaton Ford
* Editor's note: Lord of the Manor Peter Rowley offered the town £1million last October, indicating that he would prefer it to be spent on a cinema. No decision was reached by the previous administration, nor has any yet been taken by those elected in May. Our story on June 6 was about the Lib Dems' vision for St Neots now that they control the town council. We have no idea what "glaring omissions" from it Mr Burton is thinking of.
* AS a St Neots Councillor, it was a great surprise to me that "the Lib Dems had revealed an ambitious multi-million pound vision for new community facilities" ("New Vision for the community," June 6).
At the town council meeting on June 6, the Lib Dems, in answer to a public question, confirmed they hadn't got a strategy or plan for the town. When pressed why they had claimed to have such a plan for the town in April, several weeks before the election, the meeting was mystified by Cllr Giles's explanation.
The fact is that there has been no strategy or plan presented at the Lib Dem-controlled town council (although the Conservatives have repeatedly asked for these) and what has been fed to the press is nothing more than a wish list, which might as well have included a proposed Eynesbury Giant Theme Park and the new Priory Cathedral.
It is fact that the Lib Dems were the largest party on the last town council and for the past decade, and have already had every opportunity to achieve their vision but have never bothered.
The people of St Neots would like to know how these facilities are to be paid for. Where will they be located? Who will run them? And, most importantly, how many hundreds of pounds will be added to the Council Tax burden of every householder in St Neots?
Mr Thorpe optimistically expects all these facilities to cost nearly £6million, which is the same figure previously quoted for a cinema alone. If the town sells land, cemeteries, recreation grounds and pocket parks may be threatened. Selling land for £3million doesn't make the town richer by £3million, as we will no longer have the land.
What's described as "commercially sensitive" would be better described as "politically sensitive or embarrassing". We deserve to know whether these plans concern the Pightle, Eynesbury Pocket Park, the swimming pool, Sudbury Meadow or Priory Park.
Visions are never accompanied by an accurate final cost. What starts as £6million pounds easily becomes £12million when there are no detailed costings in place.
And then, of course, there is the usual get-out clause. Co-operation with district and county councils being required are presented as obstacles to the Lib Dem vision.
At last week's town council meeting, the Lib Dems were asked to explain where statements in the press that the district council did not support a cinema in St Neots had come from.
The fact is that Huntingdonshire District Council couldn't have been more supportive and there was no evidence to the contrary. To imply that the county and district councils might not co-operate is quite absurd.
Councillor BARRY CHAPMAN, Kipling Place, Eaton Ford