Our community should have a say in how Rother develops

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From: Cllr Kevin Dixon, Netherfield Hill, Cllr Kathryn Field, Virgins Lane

Mr Brown (Letters, March 1) is right to suggest it is ‘so so easy to find things to criticise’ about Rother’s Conservative administration, which must be the only thing we agree with him about.

Rother’s Conservative-dominated Planning Committee over-ruled numerous local objections to agree controversial proposals for housing at Lillybank Farm and Tollgates. If he does not agree that the local community should have a big say in development on his doorstep, then he is in a minority in Battle.

This would be the same Party whose previous leader reportedly said that they should “get rid of all the green crap”. We make no apology whatsoever for raising concerns about giving full consideration to ALL the green and environmental issues whether that is the natural environment on this sensitive site, or indeed the building standards required.

If Mr Brown would take a moment away from his misrepresentation of our newsletter to read what we actually say, he would see that we absolutely do not suggest that no development should happen at Blackfriars – we are only too aware of the acute need for more houses, especially affordable housing for young families.

What we do say, unapologetically, is that together with the other pipeline proposals this represents a very substantial expansion of our town with consequences for all our services. We do listen to the numerous concerns raised by residents about the sensitive natural environment, and the effect this new road will have on their lives.

The more comments and concerns are voiced by residents at this early stage the better the architects and planners will be able to accommodate them and the more forcefully we will be able to represent them.

We believe our local community should have a major say in how it develops: it is regrettable if Mr Brown thinks otherwise.

Turning briefly to Mr Brown’s incorrect comments regarding our opposition to the Colonnade Restaurant in Bexhill, had he been present at any of the relevant Rother council meetings he would have been well aware of our criticisms of this ill-considered and ridiculously expensive project from the outset.

We raised numerous detailed questions about the proposals and challenged many assumptions in the plans. Indeed on one occasion Cllr Field flew back from holiday at her own expense to ensure she could attend a critical Cabinet meeting.

The Conservatives’ consistent refusal to consider many of these questions has lead us to call for a full Scrutiny Review of the project which, interestingly, the Tories have refused to allow prior to the forthcoming elections.

It’s almost as if they don’t want us all to know just how they contrived to lose £56,000 of taxpayers money in the first ten weeks of operations!