Just smoke and mirrors

How nice it was to see the council finally decide to break their silence in last week’s Matlock Mercury (Letters page) and directly respond to the concerns raised by your readers on the Bakewell Road re-development. The fact that the un-named spokesman chose to remain anonymous though perhaps speaks volumes of the way the council have dealt with this shambles to date.

Their response, however, seems totally incredulous and insulting to the public’s intelligence.

As other contributors have eloquently pointed out, yes, the proposals might still need to go through the full planning process, but are we really supposed to believe that the developer hasn’t been given the green light on the fundamentals of the scheme?

We will of course have the opportunity to ‘fine tune’ the final design during the consultation process, but the core proposal of a 40,000 square foot food store anchor, together with an additional 25,000 square feet of additional retail space and a budget hotel are what they’ve pitched for, been given the thumbs up on and been given assurances on by the council (which is admitted in council documents) that all measures have been taken to both fast-track and keep quiet their submissions to this point.

Indeed, I know for a fact that the developer’s agents have been aggressively targeting potential retailers for the five smaller units which will form part of this development.

Are they really likely to have done that if the scheme is likely to altar substantially?

I can only conclude that all the council are trying to perform at the moment is a ‘smoke and mirrors’ operation in order to try and placate and calm down the public’s anger, and thereby try and create the impression that they are indeed listening.

It will be nice to compare and contrast though the final built scheme with what the developers already approved (via the ‘in favour’ council vote a few weeks back) feasibility proposals comprise.

I believe it will be a case of spot the difference - perhaps another reason why the un-named council representative wishes to remain anonymous.

Concerned resident