Mione Goldspink's article for the Flyer, August 2018
Local Matters with Mione Goldspink August, 2018
I welcome the news that the Planning Application for the development of Stansted Airport will not be assessed on July 18th after all. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has postponed the decision-making date as it is asking for further information about surface access, noise and air quality. It also seeks further discussions with relevant stakeholders and a public meeting for everyone to see the proposals. The nub of the Application is that the Airport would like permission to increase it number of passengers from 35 million passengers per annum to 43 million. Previously, UDC had appeared very willing to fast-track the application, but, now, after pressure from Lib-Dem Councillors and others, it has agreed to allow time for better consultation. Since this is a Major Application, which could have far-reaching consequences for Bishop's Stortford, as well as for Stansted, I welcome this news.
News about another Planning Application is not so welcome. The Application to which I refer is the one for a controversial 6-storey Car Park at Northgate End in Bishop's Stortford. The Conservative East Herts committee which looked at this some weeks ago was unable to reach a decision, so it deferred the matter and asked for modifications to be made. Members of the public had put forward various cogent, sensible criticisms of the plans. However, when the modified Application comes back to the next committee meeting, members of the public will not be permitted to comment on the changes. This seems to me to be most undemocratic.
An example of a slightly better democratic participation is the consultation which has been belatedly announced about some proposals for Ward Boundary changes which would affect Thorley Parish and B.S. South Ward. Changes here might have an impact on planning decisions about building more houses on land to the south of Whittington Way. So, I welcome the decision to allow members of the public to join the consultation, and to express their views.
On a jollier note :- What fun we all had in Town, when Spider-Man came to visit and to film "Spider-Man: Far from Home" in North Street and South Street. This made a welcome change from all our serious worries. If you are going on holiday in August, may I wish you a peaceful and refreshing break.
Chairman, Bishop's Stortford Liberal Democrats