Councillor Ap Rees inherits debacle

THE outburst by Mr Berry in last week's Mercury regarding the putting green at Park Place was, I guess, only to be expected but the picture he paints is of course not

THE outburst by Mr Berry in last week's Mercury regarding the putting green at Park Place was, I guess, only to be expected but the picture he paints is of course not filling in all the numbers.For example neither he, nor the childish comments from Mr Bell previously, points out that the issue under debate began on Mr Bell's watch when he was the ward councillor for the area. One might ask why he didn't realise that Mr Berry's application for a 15 -year tender was not for a putting green with ancillary sales as advertised but for a 30 -place hot and cold food cafe with putting available. Did he not know, in which case as the local councillor he should have done ... or did he know and keep quiet ... and why didn't he ensure the deal was sorted before he lost the election in May? True, I inherited this debacle but at no time did Mr Berry approach me to discuss the situation until earlier this year, when it was indicated the contract could not be signed because what was being asked for would clearly need planning permission, which had not been obtained. I am sure it would seem pretty obvious to most sensible people that to have agreed a 15-year contract on that basis would have resulted in howls of protest from other potential tenderers who would have felt cheated that there was no level playing field, and from Mr Berry himself if his planning application had been refused.By now it will be obvious that Mr Berry did not, despite his assertions, have the concession signed up and agreed as a done deal, and I was under no obligation to agree to something that was plainly wrong, no matter what discussions might have taken place under the previous administration.With the above issues brought to my attention and after careful thought I therefore took the decision to terminate discussions and rethink what we could do with this prime seafront site to best benefit the taxpayers of both Weston and North Somerset. That might include issuing a new tender with or without planning permission for new uses, which can go through the democratic process for neighbours to comment, or looking at other options that come forward. In the meantime the site is being kept tidy, the grass cut and the buildings maintained so is certainly not in 'a terrible condition' as suggested. Furthermore, the publicity engendered by Mr Bell has certainly raised the level of interest in the site, which can only be good news for Weston in the long run.CLLR ELFAN AP REES - Deputy Leader, North Somerset Council


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