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Statement by Ian Glover 06 February 2004

The following statement was read out by Ian Glover, a resident of The Green, on behalf of 26 residents of The Green, at the public meeting held in the Buccleuch Hall on 06 February 2004.

Statement

We the undersigned are extremely upset, not a little angry and disgusted at the way this plan and this meeting have been arrived at.

In 1999 the village was extensively and properly consulted over whether or not changes to The Green were acceptable to the residents of the village. Change was comprehensively rejected. We have a unique village space which has not changed in a hundred years or more. We would wish our heritage to be passed down intact for our descendants to be able to enjoy. The space is there to be enjoyed by all. It is currently used for a variety of events now that it is being cut properly (nearly). We fail to see how else it could be utilised without fundamental alteration.

Despite attempts to undermine this consultation by proposers of this scheme it remains the only quantifiable measure of public opinion on the issue. The survey is less than five years old so must be relevant. Two hundred and twenty four people approximately responded to this consultation out of five hundred and forty nine approximately. The five hundred and forty nine includes residents on the electoral roll from Marton. At that time most residents of Marton did not respond because they felt it was a Lindal issue and that they felt it was not right to involve themselves in another village's affairs. They have their own playground they would be upset if we in Lindal tried to tell them what to do with their amenities. That is for them to decide, they are the ones who have to live with it. Has any one asked them how they feel about so much money being spent on Lindal when they have many needs of their own? We think not. There are other parts of our community with very real problems, particularly many residents of London Road who feel forgotten and unimportant as everything is directed at The Green. Overall a very large percentage of the population of Lindal had their say, too many to be dismissed as irrelevant.

The survey revealed that people did not want change to The Green but they did want the trees attending to, the railings mended or if not mendable replaced by similar and the grass cutting regularly. The regular cutting of the grass was seen as the key to The Green being usable.

So how have we got from that to what we are being presented with tonight? How have we got from a village green to an urban park ? How have we arrived at a scheme that could well change the whole ethos of the village? That is what we would like to know. The whole scheme seems to be finance driven as oppose to needs driven which is what it should be.

We are informed that there have been two consultation meetings so far. These many of us attended. We would agree discussions took place and plans waved in our faces. All the time we were being told that these were just ideas they were not set in stone. Observations were made but they were many and varied and certainly not recorded in any structured way which could be adequately quantifiable in any meaningful way then or now. At the first so called consultation twenty four residents gave in written comments. At the second so called meeting nineteen handed in written comments. The nineteen who did so at the second meeting could well be nineteen of the twenty four who commented at the first meeting. There will certainly be an overlap to some degree. So we are being told that twenty four people minimum forty three people maximum are being allowed to dictate to the rest of the village. If the opinions of two hundred and twenty four are not adequate how come forty three are?

During the period between then and now we have continually asked the Parish Council for proper consultation. We were continually told we would be when there was something to consult over. We were aware things were happening because meetings with various bodies were noted in various minutes both of the Parish Council and the Residents' Association. We have to make do with that. We cannot question Parish Council minutes because that part of a Parish Council Meeting is closed and Parish Councillors ratify minutes and raise matters arising. Residents' Committee meetings are held in private house to which we do not have access. We were told there was general agreement for the scheme. The only general agreement we can ascertain is for the trees to be pruned, the grass to be cut and the railings to be restored. There was also a reasonable amount of support for moving the war memorial although this was not quantified as to whether or not it represented a majority. Once we leave the three basic planks there is no sense of unanimity. We went along with this reluctantly believing that it was better to work from within a system but we have been abused.

On top of all that Green residents feel that they should have been met with as a group and consulted as such. All changes to the Green will affect the quality of their lives. Noise, nuisance and vandalism are an increasing problem for some residents in particular. The provision of more things to vandalise and places to congregate can only make the problem worse. Their voices are being refused a hearing.

We do not think that the so called consultation has been anywhere near adequate enough to take us from the 1999 position to this position now. It is almost impossible to see how this has been arrived at from what has gone before. We do not wish the detail of the proposal to be discussed as this would effectively legitimise a very flawed process. We require the Parish Council and the Residents' Association to ask whether or not the scheme as a whole is acceptable.

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