Vic opened the meeting with a report and presentation that brought the meeting up to date on activities so far which included:
Overview of what we have done so far:
Persuaded local councillors set up a meeting to take questions from the community
Collected over 1700 letters of objection and delivered them to the Council
Sent questions to the Council
Emailed the Chief Executive to request his help in obtaining answers to our questions (28/09/11).
Problems we have faced:
Council assuming that individuals from our area were Group representatives
Delay in replying to questions raised – 3 weeks for the majority
Poor quality of answers to our questions including efficient use of the truth
Six questions together with their answers were presented in detail, highlighting the imprecise answers and the lack of any answers at all in some cases. These questions were a subset of questions we had prepared earlier for a meeting with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive. The purpose of these questions and answers was to illustrate the poor response by, and reasons for lack of trust in the Borough.
Consultation demonstrated to be ineffective – eg:
0nly 1500 people attended ‘drop-ins’ Borough wide
At the meeting at Laughton Common Community Centre only 4 or 5 found out from Council advertising
There should be more emphasis on developing Brownfield land to reduce pressure on Greenfield sites
Lack of trust and confidence in the Council
We had a meeting scheduled for earlier in the week with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive but this was postponed because of annual leave.
Raise awareness locally:
All public info to be posted on web site
Hold meetings when necessary
Stage charity events
Nationally – eg WI, National Trust
Residents – volunteering, spreading the word, sending letters.
Letters for signing.
Those present agreed in principle the following:
The content of a letter to be sent to the Council.
“To protect Greenbelt land and other green spaces from non-essential development.
To encourage development of Brownfield sites as a priority.
To support the development of social and affordable housing for the residents of Rotherham Borough.”
Questions, statements and suggestions from the floor:
A great deal of support came from this session. Many volunteers were recruited to join the club.
There was a feeling that the Borough had chosen the Dinnington area on which to dump ‘that, which wouldn’t be tolerated elsewhere in the Borough’.
Again, the issue of the of the ‘consultation process’ was ridiculed, particularly as only 1500 residents, Borough-wide, attended the drop-in sessions. The letter to be sent to the Council was revised to reflect this feeling.
There were two Ward Councillors present on the ‘floor’ who came under the ‘cosh’ occasionally, in the main, from Parish Councillors. Perhaps more importantly, the question of ‘why aren’t the other Ward Councillors from Dinnington and Anston in attendance ’was raised?
Being at the fringe of the Borough, it was voiced that residents paid taxes and had nothing in return from the Borough except waste collection. The bus service was considered very poor yet better than the condition of the roads.
Many in the hall identified with the town of Worksop as opposed to Rotherham.
As Dinnington has town status, there was a call for Dinnington and surrounding villages to become independent of Rotherham Borough raise its own taxes, outsource services (eg road maintenance) to local councils and companies.
Rotherham Politics is grateful for these observations from an attendee who would prefer their name not to be used, I quote:
“What started as a presentation to urge the preservation of the Greenbelt and build on Brownfield sites was developed by the ‘floor’ into a discussion of the wide-ranging failure of RMBC in respect of the welfare of Dinnington and the surrounding area.
At the meeting at Dinnington it was very clear from the people that the Strategic Planning Team had given very little notice of the consultations in a media that tax payers accessed. This had also been very apparent at other consultations I have attended. Thorpe Hesley had no consultation and feeble excuses were offered by the council.
Kimberworth Park and Masbrough were belatedly added on with very little information published. Kimberworth Library had no posters to advertise time or place. Masbrough was held at as far distance as possible from the area that would be effected, at the other side of the Old Wortley Road dual carriage way, only 16 people signed in, 6 from Save our Greenbelt, one Labour Councillor, so do your sums.
The good people of Dinnington were very vocal and I am afraid some Parish Councillors had little to say, but at least they turned up, which is more than we can say for the Greasbrough Councillors, Keith Goulty, being the only one brave enough, although when asked if he supported the carnage of Bassingthorpe Farm his reply was a definite NO! When asked if he would vote against, he said he would have to vote with the Labour Party. Now forgive me if I am wrong, but I always thought that my councillor was there to represent me and the majority of the good people of Greasbrough who are against this carnage.
This fight is far from over and I am using this brilliant web site to appeal to the the tax payers of Rotherham to contact Save Our Greenbelt so we can help you in your fight to save your precious greenbelt, I know there are very concerned folk from Swinton, Thorpe Hesley, to mention a few. Dinnington only joined recently and our united front has the Council rattled to say the least!
Together we will have a very loud voice. Please help us shout for the future of our children.”
Any more amateur reporters out there? If you were present and want to share your viewpoint on the meeting, or would like to share you ideas? Please use the comment link below. Pseudonyms may be used, your email address will never be published.