It shows why Weston's slow decline continues

AT LAST common sense has prevailed, and the local council has granted planning permission to enable Weston Tennis Club to provide facilities

AT LAST common sense has prevailed, and the local council has granted planning permission to enable Weston Tennis Club to provide facilities fit for the 21st century. That a civic amenity like the tennis club should have been forced to fight so hard and so long, simply to be allowed to improve what is on offer for the people of the town, is deeply worrying. It explains, in part at least, why Weston's slow decline continues.Having been involved in the club's court appeal against the original 'floodlight ban', I know how dumbfounded most people were to discover that a new and patently bad law enabled one sole complainant to deprive the club of the lights it had used since 1991, despite the overwhelming support of other neighbours.One might have expected council officials to have been eager to help the club. In reality, officials simply seemed to be buoyed up by their success in closing the club's existing floodlights down. The planning application was dealt with far too slowly and endless requests were made for highly technical and largely irrelevant information. Above all, decisions were made to give undue weight to particular sets of 'guidelines', whilst totally ignoring others more favourable to the application, thus losing sight completely of 'the big picture' i.e. what is best for local people.There is however one extremely positive element to all this. The case illustrates that, where people are prepared to make their views known and to act, local councillors will listen. The residents of Graham Road, Neva Road and Station Road deserve a huge pat on the back. The very people who the council's employees said were going to be adversely affected by the proposed plans took it upon themselves to organise and sign petitions, write and email the local press and the council, and even to attend the planning committee meeting in person. If more local people are prepared to follow their fine example, and to take action when they see issues being mishandled, then at last there is genuine hope that the new century will bring an end to the soporific malaise that Weston has endured for so long.KELVIN FRASER - Montpelier, Weston


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