‘Jolly Roger’, I think I’ll get myself a flag for that


Normally, I would be able to say, ‘another day, another letter’, but in this case this letter appeared on the same day as the previous one!

This one immediately starts off on the wrong foot, by suggesting that my comments were made ‘in the paper’. No, the paper was only reporting on comments made by me, during a meeting of the SHDC Planning Committee, something I often do as the committee chairman.

The writer then goes on to harangue me for reminding the committee that, like it not, gipsies and travellers are treated differently by the planning system. Grabbing my statement by the throat and giving it a damned good shaking, the writer manages to create a rabid froth of rhetoric, claiming that I was part of some sort of cabinet led conspiracy. Apparently, this conspiracy had its origins with the £1m+ Travellers’ site at Holbeach and has now turned its attentions to Gedney, where it is about to somehow ride roughshod over the place.

just for accuracy, assuming that the writer is referring to the planning application H06-0145-13, for only two plots for one family and not a Holbeach sized site, then we’ve already ‘ridden roughshod’ over the village and have now returned to our dark lair in Priory Road.

Oh well, at least I’ve got yet another printable nickname out of this one, ‘Jolly Roger’. I think I might be able to get some sort of flag for that. It can then be hoisted outside Priory Rd on those days my fellow conspirators and I are out and about riding roughshod over other areas of the district.

Letter to local newspaper – PREL, Sutton Bridge

Dear sir,

With regards to the PREL planning application at Sutton Bridge. This application was not for an incinerator. An incinerator has only one purpose, to burn waste material. The Sutton Bridge installation will burn wood that has not been used for any other purpose. Wood is being burnt in order to produce electricity, not to dispose of it.

At the first meeting, I did not suggest that residents should have made clear that they did not want an incinerator, so no previous crystal ball gazing was required. My comments related to objections regarding increased traffic. I suggested that if residents had concerns about the Wingland site generating more traffic, these should have been raised when the site was allocated for employment use, some 10 years ago.

Some committee members suggested that they did not understand every aspect of the background information provided. I don’t feel that this undermined their ability to determine the application. Much of this information dealt with matters that were outside of the immediate planning issues and was therefore not vital to the reaching of a sound decision.

Some parties have suggested that SHDC will gain financially from this application. The district council does not own any land, or have any other financial interest in the Wingland site.

I’m mystified by the accusation that the deferment was a ruse. A discounted electricity supply, for residents, mentioned at public meetings, was referred to in lobbying letters and emails I received. Details were not provided to the committee at the first meeting. I felt it was therefore prudent to ensure that the details of this promise were clearly understood and even more importantly, the promise delivered.

Finally, the Environment Agency will be responsible for issuing the operating licence for this wood burning power station and air quality monitoring. Anybody with concerns regarding emissions from this process, should ensure that these concerns are submitted to the EA.

Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones
Chairman, Planning Committee
South Holland District Council

Get out, yer banned!

I had the rather bizarre experience of being refused service in a local shop the other day. It wasn’t because I was previously suspected or caught shop lifting, or even because I had a made a scene on a previous occasion because of a defective purchase, or poor service no, it was because I was a district councillor, or more accurately, ‘I was from the council’.

The shop in question is called the Lincolnshire Gallery, located in Swan St Spalding. The owner, Derek, has apparently left instructions with his staff, that nobody from the council is to be served. This short-sighted and seemingly ill-tempered directive is, I suspect, based on the outcome of a couple of recent planning applications. Both applications were on the same site and both were refused. Given that at least one of the applications was refused on appeal by a planning inspector, I wonder if Derek has also written to Bristol, where the Inspectorate is based, to tell them that they are not welcome in his shop? Also, whilst he’s at it, he might as well drop a no thank you card to the minister Eric Pickles, as the planning inspectorate works for him!

Of course any shop owner has the right to choose who he or she serves. However, given that the council employs hundreds of people and at least some of them are likely to want to purchase art supplies occasionally, this is a classic case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.