In reply to the letter in last week’s Journal criticising me, I fear Simon Rhoades has missed the point.
If we had a town council our opinions would have been sought regarding where we may want to spent £5m. Would the residents of Grantham have chosen to spend that amount on a single project? In the absence of a town council were our opinions sought by SKDC before committing our money to a multiplex cinema project? With regard to my being pre-determined and hostile over the new cinema complex proposal, any decision I make regarding the development itself will be based on planning criteria and it is only right I raise matters on the planning committee that are cause for concern.
With regard to the Southern and Northern Quadrant housing schemes in general, would we have chosen to put the majority of new homes for the entire district into Grantham? Would we have concentrated those on only two sites, both of which are renowned for having traffic issues, and both of which were former green field sites? Would a town council have given more weight to the consequences of the development on existing residents and businesses and raised such concerns to the district?
In response to the point that all homes make traffic -– yes they do. However, we have a desperate need for more affordable homes here in Grantham. The social benefit from the provision of homes for those struggling in insecure private rented accommodation would be a major consideration when weighing up the impacts of any development. Traffic matters. If we don’t get the infrastructure right the economic benefits of the new scheme will reduce as residents at the new sites choose to travel down the A1 to Stamford or up to Newark, rather than queue down Barrowby Road, Bridge End Road or Spittlegate to go into Grantham for their shopping. They will be in a good place to make that decision. Unlike the people living nearer to the centre of town, who are not.
There was no representative voice for Grantham when either of these important strategic decisions were made and that must change in future. I am delighted the majority of local people responding to the Journal poll feel the same. Look out for our petition and please contact SKDC if you are not already on the electoral register so you too can have your say.
Coun Charmaine Morgan