A review of Ashby Times by Walsh written on Tuesday 28th of June 2011
OPEN LETTER TO THE LOCAL PRESS.
To colour my following comments I need to state I live literally between the Minorca opencast development site (approx 25M) and the proposed canal extension (the bottom of the garden at the rear).
As a loosing combatant in the recent judgement by L.C.C. to grant UK Coal approval to proceed with their opencast application at the Minorca site I realise my comments may be interpreted as sour grapes.
Be that as it may I cannot but feel disillusioned by the quality of the proceedings. The pros & cons of the apposing groups essentially were, “Benefits for Measham resulting from the Ashby canal” Vs. “The environmental threats to the area”
Although objections from ALL the impacted Parish Councils, the M.O.P.G. and local individuals, the argument was influenced by the supporters of the canal, including Mr Gerald Box who was granted an opportunity to speak by the Chairman of the proceedings despite no longer living in the Leicestershire County!
As part of their propaganda UK Coal had increased their promise of cash funds for the Canal to £1.26M. We (those against the opencast) had argued that the canal extension to be achieved with this funding would only be as far as the Gilwiskaw brook some 500M and should in fact NOT be a consideration at all in the judgement for the opencast project. Despite this, the argument by the protagonists for the canal depended heavily on the benefits for Measham with the marina planned in the village, some additional 2-3 Km away and many expensive civil engineering obstacles to overcomb.
Despite praising the quality of the 200 plus pages report by the Chief Executive, the questions raised by some members of the Development Control & Regulatory Board left no one in doubt that they had either not read it , or did not understand it.
Nor did they have a clear idea where the Gilwiskaw brook was, in relation to Measham and the present canal termination but were influenced by the arguments anyway.
Having returned home somewhat angry and depressed at the thought of having this opencast development site on the doorstep and the potential of the canal working in unison I had no option but to resolve myself to having to tolerate it.
The final straw came the next day (after the judgement) when a copy of the report (all 1.25Lb / 0.56Kg) arrived by post from L.C.C. I had already viewed the report on-line as advised by the secretary Ms J Bailey, and I had [with all the attendance to the meeting] received a hard copy on the day. All the speakers I have since spoken to, also have confirmed receiving a copy via the post after the event.
Is this an indicator of the quality of decision making at our County Council and their judgement of how they spend our money?
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Map showing Ashby Times on Bridge Road