Author Topic: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?  (Read 2443 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« on: February 14, 2012, 10:36:57 PM »
Reading Cllr Heenans latest blog on Pickards Field & Kembrey grass I'm still trying to decide what it is he's actually saying and judge how much is genuine given that, as he admits himself, it's only a few weeks until the local elections:



Quote from: Councillor Dale Heenan, Chair of SBC Planning Committee


On Thursday, I attended a public meeting at St Barnabas Church in Gorsehill about the plan to sell Pickards Small Field and Kembrey Grass Field to Habokus to build 241 houses. 106 would be affordable family homes, and the rest of the proposal included £30m of investment to support the Gorsehill area, and £1m for landscaping works. Habokus is a company that is partly owned by Kevin Mccloud.
I wasn’t invited by the Labour ward councillors but I thought I would go along anyway, and I spoke to many residents so it was an interesting evening.
The first time that I, and these local residents, first heard about the plans in any detail was when the Cabinet report was first published on Tuesday. The ward Councillors received a briefing approximately two weeks ago.

One of the local residents put forward the idea of an urban community forest, which I think is a great way to involve the community and protect this green open space.
My view is that Swindon Borough Council should use the Localism Bill that the Government has now made law. The Localism Bill puts forward the concept of local residents having the “Right to Buy” assets of importance to the community.
 
If Swindon Borough council wishes to sell the land to a developer then local residents should have the first opportunity to obtain it – whether it is through a land trust, community grants or another other mechanism!
 
This approach would allow the local residents to develop their idea of an urban forest and make it happen, and ensure that the green open space is always protected in the years ahead.
 
I am a big supporter of green space becoming Village Greens, and last year I managed to push the Rights of Way Committee to get the Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council to write to the government minister asking for a change in the law to allow Councils to nominate areas of land they wish to see as having village green status wherever it wants them.
 
Currently this approach is illegal for Councils, and very strict rules and criteria have to be applied. I don’t believe the local Labour Councillors have raised this with the local MP, Justin Tomlinson, so I will do so and ask for his support.
I spoke with Labour Councillor Kevin Small before the start of the meeting and asked him to let me speak. I said I was happy to contribute in which ever capacity he would like – as an interested Councillor, Chairman of the Planning Committee or as a member of the Rights of Way Committee. Unfortunately the three Labour Councillors running the meeting refused to allow me to speak!
 
Since I am a Conservative this didn’t surprise me at all, because my views on this issue would be an inconvience to them. It is a real shame because they made several attempts to dress the meeting up to the audience as being non-political.
 
Labour Councillor Ballman did helpfully identify me at the end of the meeting so more residents came over to me, and I was happy to outline my position in support of local residents, and to correct Labour Cllr Des Moffats own comments about the Cabinet proposals.
 
It is all too easy for Labour leader, Cllr Jim Grant, to rail against “the Council” and blame the leader of the Council, Rod Bluh, for a situation that happens three months before all out elections. The decision that this area was “surplus” goes back to 2006, and whether someone agrees, or not, with that decision it hasn’t changed in the last six years.
I came away thinking that Labour clearly believe that if it is acceptable to cast doubt in public simply because it suits them and sounds plausible, regardless of the facts.
The Cabinet decision on Wednesday includes the condition that the deal is subject to planning permission being granted.
 
As the current Chairman of the Planning Committee, I want to be very clear with local residents that any planning application will be decided on it’s merits only. I have not had any involvement with the current discussions, and challenges like flooding will need to be overcome. This year has been controversial for the Planning Committee with decisions like the three Wind Turbines at Honda, and 900 houses near Coate Water Country Park being refused showing nothing can be taken for granted.



The latest cabinet papers relating to Pickards Field & Kembrey Grass are available here: www.talkswindon.org/politics/pickards_field/2012%2002%2015%20Cabinet%20-%20sale%20of%20site%20at%20Gorsehill.pdf



Offline Tobes

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 10:54:26 PM »
There's something I don't understand here.

This area 'belongs' to to SWINDON as an asset.

Why, therefore, should the people who employ SBC to manage their assets be expected to BUY it off of them?!

This area of land should simply be given to the community - all the more so if its been deemed (by whome, incidentally) as 'surplus to requirements'.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 11:40:57 PM »

It's worth reading the latest cabinet papers.

When you look at the numbers it very much looks like another wifi'esque lash up.  :-\

Offline jennyb

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 07:40:59 AM »
This proposal has all the hallmarks of the Croft.

Residents need to be all over Officers plans. These will influence any appeals Mr Eco man might make.

Residents should demand that the Planning Committee( if it gets that far) sit facing the public to whom they are accountable for any decision they will make.

The Planning Committee had to face the Honda Protestors.

The Planning Committee rejected the Honda application.   

I read Cllr Heenan's blog... his prose is abundant. He appears a little sensitive. I was there too and didn't have to provide an invite to attend.


It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 07:48:01 AM »
Dsale Heenan "One of the local residents put forward the idea of an urban community forest, which I think is a great way to involve the community and protect this green open space.
My view is that Swindon Borough Council should use the Localism Bill that the Government has now made law. The Localism Bill puts forward the concept of local residents having the “Right to Buy” assets of importance to the community."

Amazing isn't it, -urban community forest - it already IS part of the Great Western Community  Forest and ALL the green space over the last twenty odd yars has been taken under a microscope as part of that, yet, is there any living memory of that in the Borough - apparently not, it's not even ancient history.

If they are talking about a woodland, then that's something altogether more local and a more correct word for it. if it hasn't had a community tree plant on it before now, I suspect theres something more or equally important there - why do people still persist with the myth that only tree planting is green?  Of course it was allotments -just as imprtnat one might say.

That right to buy, I agree with Tobes, the idea is to hand over community assets to local people to MANAGE - not to buy.  And I beleive the idea is that local people identify what is and what is not a community asset. Stands to reason people won't want to buy them twice, which is in effect what they are bing asked to do Oh blimey how can they keep getting these things so wrong.

It seems that someone rather rich but nice, covenants a bit of land to SBC for the people of Swindon.  SBC forgets it's ours not theirs, tries to sell it off, but as an alternative, they then try to sell the bit of land that was given to us - to us. 

The other point is, that if that land is taken away and some bright spark suggested volunteers turning out to plant trees on what's left - well, don't expect too much enthusiasm.   
 :bash: :bash: :bash: :bash: :bash:
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 08:02:37 AM »
If Councillor Dale Heenan is being genuine about his desire to satisfy the Localism Bill being present myself I would ask him the following question which I would do if I were in Swindon tonight and able to attend cabinet.

If the Council is prepared to give this piece of land to Mcloud, a developer, why not give it and control of it to the local people whose who already own it as the people of Swindon?

Like Geoff, I am very  cynical about motives here, not least of all about Kevin Small, whom Dale Heenan alledges prevented him from speaking publicly and in view of Kevin's comments about not making the meeting political his alleged actions seem somewhat strange to me!! 

A bit of one and a bit of another with the Gorsehill people stuck in the middle.

Now Dale Heenan will know that the people of Gorsehill will not be able to raise the type of money the Council will require from them to buy their own land, but will not require money from Mcloud and therefore Rod and co can achieve fruition of their schemes having done the right thing, in their opinion, first!!

I hope the local people will take back control of their destiny and accept help from anyone who will help them achieve it.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 08:30:50 AM »
Was that meeting a council meeting or one organised by the Labour councillors of that ward off their own back?, if it was then that puts a different light on it.

If the conservatives of that area had called it, I doubt very much they would have allowed a Labour person to speak -  I know, I know, it's all very childish, but he who pays for the room usually get's  the say.

Another thing worth remembering is that it was under the Labour council that many, if not all, the environmental initiatives in Swindon were started. There have been precious little under the Conservatives - can't remember the last time we were invited to any environmental meetings - apart from recycling, (due to the changes in the law of the land).   

As usual, all good things done pre-Tory council are being carefully and meticulously unpicked.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 09:35:25 AM »
This is the situ in a nutshell, in these two quotes:

Quote
It seems that someone rather rich but nice, covenants a bit of land to SBC for the people of Swindon.  SBC forgets it's ours not theirs, tries to sell it off, but as an alternative, they then try to sell the bit of land that was given to us - to us.

Quote
If the Council is prepared to give this piece of land to Mcloud, a developer, why not give it and control of it to the local people whose who already own it as the people of Swindon?

I hope the Adver and BBC pick up on this obvious contradiction...

And I hope McCloud reads it too. Which would he consider the greenest and most eco friendly option?

There are plenty of brownfield sites I'd personally love to see him go develop instead of drooling over this plot.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 11:23:14 AM »
I would think that a development, specifically designed for brownfield sites, would give an extra little challenge and significant kudos to Mr. McCloud.

It is brownfield sites, up and down the country, that we need redeveloped in order to bring life back to areas that are suffering decay and neglect.

Is it because there are no S106 payments for getting small local builders, employing local people, getting their supplies from local builders' merchants, to build what people really need, that prevent the obvious solution happening? Perhaps an example of this is where Stroud District Council presently prefer a new green field estate while the locals want bits of brownfield, throughout the Stroud Valley redeveloped, in 1 to 4 house projects, by local builders.
The residents plans of course, spread the increased population out over a large area thus not overwhelming any particular local service in any one area.

Destroying greenfield areas, using developers and large national building companies, generates dosh for the council to waste on vote catching vanity projects. Could this be the real and only reason for the preference for greenfield sites?
What's it all about?

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 11:52:36 AM »
Destroying greenfield areas, using developers and large national building companies, generates dosh for the council to waste on vote catching vanity projects. Could this be the real and only reason for the preference for greenfield sites?

But the trouble is with this particular roderick deal is that ownership does not pass to McCloud for any consideration whatsover and I stand to be corrected but 106 money is to be paid to the Developers to ensure that the social housing aspect is completed?

so it is the worst of all worlds in a lose lose situation with no local businesses no local employees and no local suppliers with a development all on a greenfield site with dubious access issues.

But tonights the night when the local people can suffocate this latest Roderick procreation at birth if they organise themselves properly, attend in numbers quietly, and each ask relevant questions. 

It will be interesting to see if all the Labour politicians present at the St Barnabus meeting actually attend Cabinet tonight.  If they wish to be taken seriously I expect to be told that all of them are actually present.  Only then will we determine if Kevin Small's words about not politising this issue hold true!
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 11:55:09 AM »
It's all open to interpretation as politicians and others say.  I attended that meeting arriving shortly after it started. I was not one of the councillors referred to in the post, and I will let those mentioned respond to it. My response is general observation, interpretation and my opinion of events thus far.

There's something I don't understand here.

This area 'belongs' to to SWINDON as an asset.

Why, therefore, should the people who employ SBC to manage their assets be expected to BUY it off of them?!

This area of land should simply be given to the community - all the more so if its been deemed (by whome, incidentally) as 'surplus to requirements'.


Tobes makes the point all assets the council owns from covenented and gifted open space, leisure facilities  to car parks has been paid for and maintained by council tax payers. Then they have to pay to use them, how much they pay is now an issue that is becoming more about austerity than localism.

Dale has identified one interesting point (my interpretation) that he is asking the MP to support him in identifying it as a village green or to sell it back to the community?   If this is indeed the case then if it is a sale, it cannot be worth very much as Rod Bluh himself described it as effectively redundant scrubland
Quote
Council leader Rod Bluh said: “It will probably attract a certain amount of opposition on the basis it’s open space. But by the definition, all new houses tend to be put on some sort of open space. This, effectively, is redundant scrubland.
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/9517135.Allotments_could_be_used_for_housing/

Or does this redundant scrubland only have a value worth £1.22 million to be spent on landscape works etc because it can be used for housing in the first place?
Quote
A further £1m from the sale of the land is also proposed be spent in landscaping the open space adjoining the proposed development and on a pavilion for Southbrook Recreation Ground.


When Rod says it will attract a certain amount of opposition
Quote
“It will probably attract a certain amount of opposition on the basis it’s open space.
will a certain amount of that opposition now include Dale and the MP?
Quote
This approach would allow the local residents to develop their idea of an urban forest and make it happen, and ensure that the green open space is always protected in the years ahead.
 
I am a big supporter of green space becoming Village Greens, and last year I managed to push the Rights of Way Committee to get the Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council to write to the government minister asking for a change in the law to allow Councils to nominate areas of land they wish to see as having village green status wherever it wants them.
 
Currently this approach is illegal for Councils, and very strict rules and criteria have to be applied. I don’t believe the local Labour Councillors have raised this with the local MP, Justin Tomlinson, so I will do so and ask for his support.


Or in trying to interpret what Dale says... what exactly? Have I interpreted it to mean Pickard's field when what  Dale has written about/inferred applies to some other publicly owned land?

I have been in Gorsehill and this matter is very much a strong issue with people expressing their opinion on it with much knowledge and enthusiasm. Tonight at cabinet will prove if Rod is correct when he says
Quote
“It will probably attract a certain amount of opposition on the basis it’s open space.
I suppose it will all depend on how his definition of a certain amount is interpreted?
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 12:45:46 PM »
Planning for the public meeting started immediately following the exercise conducted by the developer late January to persuade us we should not oppose their plans for open space in Gorse Hill. We said at that meeting we would oppose on the grounds it was open space. The meeting was booked as soon as we could get a suitable venue and most Councillors were available. We went ahead with her approval even though Rochelle was not available. Labour members paid for the venue and the leaflets and delivered same with a little help from their friends.

Dale Hennan made no indication to me or anyone else that he wished to speak at the meeting in St Barnabus Church. Kevin Small says Dale inquired if he was expected to speak and was told no. At no time did he indicate in the normal way that he wished to contribute.

I was very careful not to mislead the audience in any way. I made copies of the map attached to the report going to Cabinet tonight and circulated them. The visual aid I used we created is an exact copy of that map but indentifies what is designated open space to be built on and what is former allotment land. I quoted exactly from that report; there will be no payment to the Borough Council for the use of the land. The land will be under the control the developer until they complete 241 units and will be passed to a trust the developer group will create. The developer promises to spend £1.02 million on the land that will eventually form the trusts lands.
The Council will give to the developer £772, 000 of 106 monies collected from other developers in respect of social housing they should have included in their development. I even gave the developer credit for replacing the Rec changing rooms without mentioning they had to do that to make way for the access road.
I did make provocative comments but not in the body of the factual presentation.

People always complain about the referee, it’s what happens. The meeting did not descend into chaos, our meetings never do.
It’s a bit like that for Councillors, a Councillor without the metal strength to stand up to pressure is of no use to their electorate. Being a nice guy is not enough. When we nit pick at our friends our opponents prosper.


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Cllr Heenan Says....what, exactly?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 02:25:01 PM »
Thank you Des for the best possible summary of the position you outlined at the meeting and for clarifying what Dale Heenan had aparently said.  It is now up to him to refute Kevin Small's statement and it will be of particular interest to see if in fact he choses to do that!

I was not sure of my facts as regards the 106 monies so apart from the fact we are giving the developers a piece of green space for absolutely nothing we are also giving him £772,000 of 106 money to build on it!!

You cannot make it up and no wonder developers want to come to Swindon as not only do we not question what they want to do but ask what they need to do it and then we actually pay they to do it as well!!   :crazy2:

What type of a deal is that for the people of Swindon and from what ward pot is this tranche of 106 money coming from then?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group