Questions that went unanswered

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I have just returned from a consultative planning meeting at Highfields School and had one stiff whisky.

The meeting started with Sir Humphrey reeling off government statistics and claiming these made it essential to build on several pleasant green field sites in Matlock.

These stats were in general out of date, and some were provided by an authority which has since been abolished. (I think that’s what he said, although it was quite difficult to translate).

This is all I remember of the presentation.

The questions from the audience were better, and I enjoyed these immensely.

Here are some of the highlights:

One young gentleman found a fault in the statistics, and was initially slapped down. He was a brave soul, and after further study, came back again, and was fobbed off. I don’t recall him being given another opportunity to speak. Perhaps that was good planning.

In response to a question about Halldale Woods, the planners said they could not possibly consider this for housing due to a dispute over ownership.

In response to a question about entertainment facilities for young people in Matlock, they said it was possible these would be provided in Halldale Woods. Is this alternative planning?.

Generally, I got the impression that the planners must build on green field sites, because the general public had failed to provide alternatives.

A gentleman from Matlock golf club pointed out that he had suggested several times an area to build on, including visits and letters to the planning office. The planners had no knowledge of this. Was this a planned memory loss?.

A lady pointed out that there was a lot of unoccupied property in Matlock. She was told that did not matter because government stats said the town would grow. Wishful planning?.

The meeting was closed with the general public warming up for a real row and many people still wishing to speak. Strategic planning.

I admit to bias, I enjoy walking my collie pup, Meg, round Asker Lane. It will be difficult to dispute my version of events, however, as the meeting was not recorded in any way.

Public consultation is no good if views are listened to and then ignored, so I claim this letter should be adopted as the official record of the meeting. (Revisions from other attendees welcome).

Joe Knowles

Lums Hill Rise