Over the past few weeks we have had three Party Newsletters through the door, in order of receipt they were Conservative, Labour and LibDem.
All three have been mostly devoted to the refurbishment of the Town centre; the Conservative leaflet is about the wonderful proposals being worked out with the developers, New River, while the other two go to great lengths to point out where the Conservatives have got it wrong the main bone of contention being the loss of the Martletts Hall.
My mind immediately goes back to the first inkling of proposals for the Town when, some 3 -4 years ago the BHTC had an exhibition in The Market Place when the proposals were given the “hard sell” by ALL the Councillors (Tory, LibDem and Independent(Labour)). The means to achieve the work on the Town centre was the proposal to build some 6,000 new homes in and around the town, mainly on Greenfield sites. There is no mention of these in the leaflets. The District Plan, which includes this massive increase in the size of the town, is in the process of resubmission for approval by the Planning Inspector but it would appear that the developers are not dependent on such approval as the entrance into the site off Kingsway (c500 homes) is already under construction and the surveyors have been out on the Northern Arc (c 4,000 homes) with their theodolites during recent weeks. Quite clearly they are confident of planning permission with or without the District Plan.
There is one glaring omission from all three leaflets and this is not surprising as it seems nobody wants to tackle the very thorny problem of the road improvements which will be essential if the above mentioned developments go ahead.
High on the list is how the two existing east/west routes through the town can be improved. From what I can gather our local Councillors will not have to take responsibility as the future of our roads will be left to the tender mercy of the WSCC Highways Department.
One has to wonder what the town will look like in 15/20 years from now; I am happy that I certainly will not be driving through it then.