13 August 2021 CLOUD letter to Councillors

Dear Councillor,

 

South Lancaster Growth Catalyst

 

Several CLOUD members joined the recent public briefing sessions on the South Lancaster Growth Catalyst.  We would firstly like to say that we welcome the opportunity these sessions provided to learn more about SLGC and to ask questions - particularly as this was the first such public event, relating to it, since the announcement by government on the HIF bid some 17 months ago.

 

However our overwhelming conclusion from the briefing sessions is that they raised more questions than Council Officers were able to answer in the limited time available.  In addition it is now clear to us that approval of the HIF bid is being sought with undue haste and before important questions on risk and viability have been publicly answered.  In this connection, we would remind you of the March 2021 Council meeting when the petition from local residents on the subject of JTP’s master-planning was debated.  The outcome on that occasion was unanimous agreement by Councillors  'That Council notes the substantive issues raised by this petition and requests that the Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration engage with the sponsors of the petition to address their concerns. In particular, this engagement should provide an analysis of the responses provided by local residents during the current master-planning process and, as appropriate, explanations where the responses have not informed the masterplan.

Full council is asked to mandate that consultation on the subsequent South Lancaster Area Action Plan should include structured questions and provide feedback to those registering comments/objections.'

It is clear to us that the public consultation on SLGC, while welcome, has not met the standards set out in this Council resolution.

 

We are compiling a dossier setting out precisely the issues which concern our members and will be issuing this shortly. 

 

In the meantime we ask you to postpone the special Council meeting on 25th August to a later date - only in this way will there be sufficient time for a proper public consultation on what the Council Leader has rightly described as the most important decision for Lancaster in a generation.

 

A copy of this letter has been sent to the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.