Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Brunel House Stitch-up

Can I be brutally frank, here, and name and shame a couple of Brentwood councillor’s … ?

Wise or otherwise-*, I believe I should.

This picture shows Councillor’s Braid and Parker^˜ at tonight’s planning meeting about the development next to Brunel House, to be built by Taylor Wimpey.

It has, not to put to fine a point on it, been approved.

And I personally believe that these two councillors, along with the nine others who voted to approve it — granted with amendments — have blood on their hands.

Strong language … ?

No, not really.

Just accurate, in my belief.


You’re possibly wondering what on EARTH I’m talking about, aren’t you … ?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been writing —possibly campaigning— against the extra development  planned for the patch of empty ground at the junction of Station Approach and Saint James Road.

With THAT in mind, I was at the planning meeting tonight, that was due to vote either for or against approving the plans: for a mixed use development of offices, shops and flats.

And a creche!


Unlike last time this came before the planning committee … ?

Unlike last time, the Brunel House development actually was up fairly early in the order of business: so we got to our bit fairly quickly.

Including tonight’s objector, Laura Ngo, who was there with her partner, and who lives just around the corner in Brunel House.

Good job she did, too, I thought: although she, like I, the last time, was ‘hurried up’, needlessly by the Chairmanº: whilst the Taylor Wimpey rep seemed to waffle on for the same length of time as she did.


That’s not quite what got me.

What got me was some of the arguments I heard from Councillors Braid and Parkerª: who I’ve learnt both represent wards quite some distance from Brentwood West.

ALL of whom, emphasised the need for extra housing in Brentwood: but NONE of whom seemed to realise that there’s been some 50 or so new build flats at the other end of Rollason Way.

I will give credit where credit is due.

Councillor Russell‡, one of the Conservative members for Brentwood West did move to refuse the motion.   And Councillor Chilvers did speak out against it, although the rules forbade her from voting†.

I’ve also got to give Councillor Golding credit for forcing the committee to put the amendments in place to force them to put modified highway rules into place, AND give plaudits to Councillor Vicky Davies‡, who made the very good point that there’s no mention of WHERE any green space was to be put: something that Taylor Wimpey had offered.


In the end … ?

In the end, what’s been approved is the plans I showed you earlier.

But — at Councillor Golding’s insistence — with the proviso that the whole of Saint James Road have double yellow lines: be turned into a no parking zone, for those of my readers not familiar with UK traffic markings.

Like I said, I’ll give her credit with being the only councillor who’s managed to get a concession on this worked into the plans.

Although I personally think that those double yellow lines will lead not to eased parking in Saint James Road.

It will lead, instead, to MORE congestion in Wharf Road, Rollason Way, Chase Road, Railway Square AND King’s Chase.

It will ALSO seriously congest, still further, the parking problem in those roads.   Rollason Way’s parking areas will have problem, in particular, I fell, as will Chase Road.

And still — STILL — hamper emergency vehicle access to those three roads.

Which is why I think those named councillors I named earlier — Sparling, Braid and Parker in particular — quite simply have blood on their hands.


OK, OK … 

Maybe that’s being a bit strong.

However … ?

Despite the traffic measure included, I feel that the plans going ahead, frankly, STILL impedes emergency vehicle access to the area.

“Blood on their Hands” may be a bit strong.

As, indeed, is accusing them of murder, manslaughter or massacre.

Or butchery, even.

But I DO think that they’ve made a major contribution to someones death by fire: whether that fire be accidental or deliberate.

Those deaths will be on their heads.

I hope those councillors can sleep, as and when those deaths happen.

*        Unwise in the sense that it may well get me sued.   I am frankly, not bothered, at this precise moment.   Frankly … ?   The Kronos quartet album playing in the background is too good to spoil, and this is too important to worry.

º        Councillor Roger McCheyne, if I’ve got it right.

ª        Councillor Sparling also seemed to raise similar points, I should add.

†        Yes, I know there’s good reason for those rules, Karen: but I, for one, am disappointed they’re in place.   Their absence would’ve meant you, and several other voting members of the committee, would have swung this in favour of the people of Brentwood.

‡        Both of whom voted against, and showed character in doing so.

^        Their was also one Councillor who spoke, tonight — whose name I didn’t catch — who made the point that Brentwood tax payers would have to foot the bill if the council refused the plans, and the developer appealed.   Personally … ?   For what ever reason this councillor made the point, I feel a certain measure of cowardice was involved: from where I’m sitting, a local councillor has a responsibility to help serve his constituency.  That includes defending it from a central government of his own or opposition parties.

˜        I’ve since been informed that the two councillors are Councillors Parker and Baker: I’m also informed by Councillor Davies that Councillor Braid.   I’ll apologise, now if I’ve caused any offense: but still feel that the evening reflects poorly on those who voted to pass this.


PrettyMade said...

It seems no matter where you live, the politics of building and development is always in the hands of morons, for the most part...

In my home town it's the question of building a huge parking garage under the market square with elevators directly into some department stores.
The suggestion has been refused or tabled several times already because it's very controversial (and completely STUPID):
1) There are several parking garages standing half empty within a 500 m radius from the market square, the closest of which has an elevator up to the market square already, a whole 50 meters from the department stores.
2) The market square would be out of use for 3-5 years, which would mean the death of the market. You know, fish, fruit, flowers, veggies, bread and all. They would have to move elsewhere/quit their stalls altogether and the likelihood of them returning afterwards is slim. In other towns in Finland where similar developments have been rammed through ignoring the opposition only appr. 40-60% of market square activity has returned.
3) The market square is the historical centre of our town, paving stones and all. We do not want asphalt on it!!! Funnily enough, neither do people in wheelchairs, although they have been used by the garage fanatics as the best excuse for ruining the paving. And they DO actually have trouble with the old stones...
4) The same was done on the so called "Wood market" two blocks up a few years back. The marketplace was never used after that but stands empty apart from a book fair once a summer. The sellers simply moved away. Oh, there's a huge parking garage there though. TWO BLOCKS up from the market square.

...Starting to fume here, too. In other words: I feel your pain...

Nik Nak said...

Nina, it’s VERY nice to know someone knows EXACTLY where I’m coming from: now …

If somebody could tell you idiots on Brentwood Council