Friday, 6 July 2007

Not the BFP letters

This week sees two of the council's more ardent critics (both live in my ward) in the top two positions on the page - unless you count the newish letters page within the letters page, which features the Town Council. (Roy Bebbington's picture seems to have appeared more often than anyone else's in recent weeks.)

Sir Reggie quotes Euclid and makes great play of the greater length of an arc as opposed to a straight line. He goes on to suggest that both the car parks and town centre shops, and new lavatories and town centre shops, will be further apart. He seems to have forgotten that there will be an underground car park almost as near to St Andrews Street South as the old Cattle Market one was. As for the loos, they will be nearer than the Risbygate Street temporary ones - and as can be seen from my picture above, they won't be very far from St Andrews Street either. Given the shift of the centre of gravity, and the need for loos on the new development, are they so badly sited?

Sir R also accuses the "(ir)responsible portfolio holder" (moi?) of describing our clocks, costumes and paintings as more accessible. Well, anyone who visits the Moyse's Hall exhibitions will find that these exhibits are indeed accessible: in a central town location where children are welcomed, and displayed in a fresh modern and interesting way. Sadly when I visited last Saturday none of the save the Manor House crew nor any of the public they claim to represent were there.

I found it hard to follow our other critic's letter. Martin Whitworth joins Sir Reggie and Anthony Platt in tastelessly using the passing of Peter Drew to attack the council, and then dismisses councillors and officers as having "no sense of" business or history. As well as generally criticising the Cattle Market development he suggests that instead of a single developer taking it on, individual plots should have been sold off "for people and companies to build their own properties" within a masterplan. I wonder what that would look like?

Finally, David Nettleton is on about "arc" again, claiming that a secret ballot would have produced a different result in the recent council debate. I don't think so David. Your own "block vote" is simply not big enough, following the May elections.


david said...

Paul - I didn't mention the silly name which you support because you asked everyone not to. You're the one who keeps talking about it.

The Online vote is good: 12% Silly, 88% Sensible. You are not alone.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

You're right David, I should have been more subtle.

However, what evidence have you that I "support" the name?

(And don't say because I voted "against" Trevor's motion. I voted for moving on. That's not incompatible with not approving of a*c, which is why Stefan was able to vote and speak as he did.)

david said...

Paul - that's just a bit of sophistry which you have argued before without much support.

Now I read that Centros Miller have the final say in street naming on the site (Report Y125) curiously titled 'What's in a Name?'

So, not only was the wrecking amendment a rather poor attempt at obfuscation accompanied by a degree of vituperation as the weakness of the case became clear, it now appears to be based on the false premise that SEBC was to be the decision-making body, rather than one of many consultees.

You give me the impression that you are in office but not in power.

My block vote is only one, but I'm sure you know that the strongest person in the world is the one who stands alone.

Irrespective of numbers, the best argument eventually prevails, but, sadly, that often takes more than a lifetime to reach a conclusion.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

There is a dangeer of the wider blogging community being thoroughly put off by our exchanges David, but some may be impressed by these long words and echoes of Geoffrey Howe.

You fail to mention that Y125 recommends: "following public consultation, (Council) submits a list of acceptable names for the streets and squares to Centros Miller"

21st Century Mummy said...

Are you talking about the elephant in the room again? I suppose when an elephant is that big, you just cannot ignore it.

Interestingly I have an email from Centros Miller which among other things says...

"In conjunction with St Edmundsbury Council we have agreed that the naming of the streets,the new squares and the venue will be undertaken by the council and we understand that it will be undertaking a consultative process on this".

So what really is happening?

david said...

Paul - anyone interested enough can read the report in full (it's only two sides of A4 long) and judge for themselves who is the organ grinder and who is the monkey.

So far, we don't seem to have annoyed 21CM but I will not inflict myself on you any further except to say that although I'm sure Geoffrey Howe used 'long words' I get some of mine from reading the speeches of Dr Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968).

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

21CM - sounds like what Y125 and your email says are the same. The former will be accessible via this linkvery shortly.

David - Is that a promise?

david said...

21CM - if you read Y125 just look at 1.1. Says it all. The best bit is, however, 3.1(f) which praises the choice of The Crucible for Sheffield and asks for similar local and symbolic significance in naming the new public hall.

SEBC - not Red Cow or Centros Miller or Delancey - has the right to name this building. As it is being financed by the taxpayer at an unspecified sum, this is only what I would expect.

Send your entries to the Secret Venue Steering Group, c/o PS Farmer, Borough Offices, Angel Hill. No time-wasters, please.

Paul - it's a line from 'Cat Ballou' but now that you have built an audience and don't need me anymore, I'm content to be sent to the Home for Retired Bloggers and forgotten about - provided you get off the back of a certain hair salon proprietor.

No chance of that, is there?

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Don't be paranoid David. You'll find all the figures for the venue if you bother to look. The "secret" Venue Steering Group was set up at the last meeting of the Cattle Market Working Party - but you weren't there, were you. Keep up!

david said...

Paul -I'm not a member of this sub-committee so wouldn't normally attend. I can't go to them all - I've got a J-O-B.

It's the meetings of the Venue Steering Group that are held behind closed doors not a denial that it exists. That's what I objected to the last time. No officer from Democratic Services attended to take the Minutes. Will there be one there this time?

I didn't know you were a doctor.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

All recommendations are passed to the working party which sits in public.

david said...

But who writes down the secret committee's recommendations and if it is so open why can't any Member of the Council sit and listen?

That's a rhetorical question, by the way - sorry, two questions.

colin said...

Hey boys bury has not changed ?

it's still a secret society spending tax payers money ?

I can remember SIR Eldon Griffiths getting upset about this very issue, then it was John Knight defending...


Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Now see what you've done David? Colin doesn't need much encouragement for his cynicism.

Just out of interest, do you think all meetings of SEBC members or officers should be open to all? If not, what would your criteria be for privacy?

david said...

Paul - I'm glad you asked me that one. I recognise the need for private meetings and private sessions within meetings, provided:

1. The meeting is advertised

2. Minutes are taken by an officer

3. Those Minutes can be read by any Member of the Council.

Ideally, the officer should be someone connected to Democratic Services as that office acts as a 'clearing house' for information to Members.

21st Century Mummy said...

Blimey...I've missed a bit of debating on this here blog. I'd better get on and look at Y125.