Bhiku Patel Says Preston Vision Board Must Change
In his recent council election literature, Bhiku Patel told Riversway voters
We support the views of the residents who are against the proposal to build the barrage
Now Bhiku is taking on the body responsible for first coming up with the Ribble Barrage idea, the Preston Vision Board.
Bhiku points out
"There is not a single member of this council sitting on the Vision Board and we should have some say. The interests of the city lies with the people who live here"
Respect Councillor Michael Lavalette said
"we really need to get a grip of the Vision Board and bring it under the democratic control of this council".
Preston City Council and the North West Development Agency have been funding the Vision Board to the tune of £116,760 - but it is not clear whether this figure includes the large amounts of Council Officer time dedicated to supporting work related to Vision Board projects.
It seems likely from the comments of John Collins, Council Leader, that the Vision Board will soon expand itself to include a few elected councillors.
It remains to be seen whether the co-opting of a few hand-picked councillors will mean the transformation of the Vision Board from a body that has been secretive, unaccountable and has listened solely to the views of consultants and developers, to a body that listens to, and puts the interests of Preston people first.
If they do listen to Preston people, they will have to dump their plans for a barrage and for a massive housing development on the Southern bank of the Ribble, because these are overwhelmingly opposed by local people, and directly against our interests, not just because they would raise the flood risk to local people, and mean the loss of land now used for football pitches and allotments, but also because of the terrible damage these ideas would do to our precious environment, and because they would leave us with an expensive white elephant, demanding huge amounts of money for it's maintenance every year.