Must be employment led

HIDDEN amidst the rather evasive answers in last week's interview with the council's current executive member for strategic planning, highways, tourism

HIDDEN amidst the rather evasive answers in last week's interview with the council's current executive member for strategic planning, highways, tourism and economic development was a signal that, with few exceptions, everything's the same as before. It seems Cllr Ap Rees supports the determination some of us had to see real progress with Knightstone, the Marine Lake (but please not that silly galleon), sea front flood protection and promenade enhancements. Our desire to see real change in the town centre led to major improvements at Big Lamp Corner, Meadow Street and northern High Street, protection of the Italian Gardens from inappropriate shopping sprawl and the opening of discussions for new retail, office, leisure, health and residential schemes at Dolphin Square. Town centre car parking was and remains a difficult bullet to bite, but we bit it and those proposals are in the process of public consultation. The town's future is to a considerable degree tied up with development at RAF Locking and the old airfield, both of which we successfully argued must be employment led. Progress, albeit frustratingly slow, was being made with the disposal of refuse and improvements to public transport along with potential modifications at Junction 21. It is unfortunate that so little support actually came forth from those who now run the show, but I suppose that's politics. Despite the foregoing there are three issues which will continue to dog the current administration to the point of their and everyone else's despair: the future level of council tax - the basis on which so much depends; local Tory policy of robbing the housing fund thereby seriously reducing the council's ability to provide much needed affordable housing; the semi-secrecy of progress with the unpopular Tropicana. This final issue was an absolute pain for the previous council and continues in like manner with the present council. I can see no way forward unless the majority of 61 councillors come out from hiding and admit the impossibility of providing what that location deserves and needs based on exclusively commercial driven finance. Of one thing I was and remain certain: the building of something more akin to an overpowering 1930s power station on our beach would be an act of monumental and unforgivable folly for which-ever brand(s) of local politician are so minded to grant permission. Perhaps Cllr Ap Rees would care to lead on this matter, or does the member for Locking, rather like the rest of them from outside our town, care too little for Weston's beach?JOHN CROCKFORD-HAWLEY - Gerard Road, Weston


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