Riversway Councillors Make Vague Promises of Riverworks Consultation
Preston Riversway's three Labour Councillors, Linda Crompton, Jack Davenport and Bhikhu Patel have issued a statement about a consultation they are planning on the Riverworks proposals.
The statement comes in the Summer 2006 edition of the 'Riversway Labour Rose', and is titled "Riverworks: Residents To Get Their Say".
In their statement they say "Not all the ideas may be appropriate to this area" and that "many of the ideas look promising, while others seem barely feasible".
These councillors are right to be beginning to ask questions about the contents of Riverworks, and they have stepped well away from the council's official 'line' that the Riverworks proposals are the best thing since sliced bread, perhaps because so many local people have told them that the ideas stink. But does their statement go far enough?
The full statement is below, with additional comments in italics from 'Riversider' of the 'Save The Ribble' Campaign.
"Riverworks: Residents To Get Their Say".
The issue of the Riverworks proposals has begun to gather interest from residents (concern, incredulity and outrage might be better words to describe how we feel!)
The scheme provides an opportunity for massive improvements along the River Ribble and the Docks area (who says that building over beautiful green belt areas and sports pitches is an improvement?). However not all the ideas may be appropriate to this area. (Which ones - why not be specific about what you are for and what you are against?)
Your Labour Councillors are committed to ensuring that your voice is heard. With this in mind we will begin a consultation programme of our own (good - but when?), independent of anything Preston City Council will do of its own accord (why hasn't Preston City Council even bothered to ask our opinions yet, when they have been promoting the Riverworks proposals for several years now?)
The purpose is to ensure that the development and plans are influenced by residents wishes, to avoid the difficulties that often come with major developments when they are proposed.(This is what Save The Ribble wants too - but we need to start sooner rather than later - leave things too late and there will too much money and power behind the proposals for local voices to make a difference)
Many of the ideas suggested look promising while others look barely feasible (which ones?). We are awaiting a deliverability survey (which will cost how much of council tax payers money?) and only then will we be able to consider any form of consultation. (why can you not find out and represent our views now?). This consultation will come as soon as possible, so we ask that you be patient.
This statement is far too vague from people who are responsible for representing the interests of the people of this area.
The ideas in the Riverworks proposals have been published and in the public domain for long enough for intelligent public representatives to start scrutinising the details, forming their opinions and explaining them to their electors.
Ideas such as; a barrage that would raise the river level to permanently high tide levels, turning the Ribble into a water sports park, building 4000 houses on the greenbelt land that lines the Ribble's banks, developing housing estates over our local sports pitches like Penwortham Holme, Vernons and Frenchwood Rec, and over our local allotments would all have a direct impact on people who live in the Broadgate and Riversway area (and on people of many other areas up and down the Ribble - who will be consulting them?).
It is not much to ask that our councillors should be able to express a clear opinion on these matters, one way or the other - that is what democratic accountability and leadership is all about - local councillors have had the courage to begin to think independently from the council leadership and to admit that some of the major proposals are 'not appropriate for our area' - now they must draw some conclusions from this thinking, rather than asking us to wait till later to tell them how much these proposals stink.
'Save The Ribble' says that spending our money on 'deliverability' surveys for development ideas that we do not want is wasting our money - we are glad that councillors are beginning to start listening to their constituents, but feel they should be prepared to tie their colours to the mast, rather than fobbing us off and telling us to 'be patient', while developers' money, power and momentum gathers all the time behind the Riverworks ideas.
Why should we be patient, when the leadership of the council is promoting policies that would be so disastrous for our area, and for the ecology of our river, and is already spending our money on pursuing these policies?
The leadership of the council seems intent on pushing through policies that are driven by profit opportunities for developers rather than the interests of local people or our environment - where do our local councillors stand on this?
While consultation is vital, Vague statements promising consultation at some undetermined time in the future are nowhere near enough...
We invite the Riversway Councillors, and any other councillors or residents of areas affected by Riverworks to get in touch with the Save The Ribble Campaign, we will be happy to provide you with information on the Riverworks barrage and housing proposals and their potential consequences for local people and the environment, and to work with you in opposing them.
Will Ribbleside Residents Voices Be Heard?
Riverworks: Pub Debate Primer
Threat To Frenchwood Recreation Ground
Allotments: 10 Reasons Why Preston City Council Should Not Build Over Them
City Councillor Promises That Residents Will Be Consulted
Residents Concerns for The Environment and Loss of Quality of Life
The Dangers of the Riverworks Barrage and Flood Plain Housing Proposals