After publishing The Sheer Bloody Cheek on October 24th someone left an anonymous comment that said:
"Of course Cllr. Jarrett would never have thought of selling the land at Compass Close if he had not got the idea from Labour secret list of land sales drawn up before the 2000 election.Dare you to publish that you bunch of hyprocrites"
I briefly replied to this and promised to expand on my answer in a future post because the comments section only has limited space. Here we go:
I'm not a Labour councillor but I am aware that Labour councillors did earmark some land with the potential to sell. According to my dictonary potential means possible but not yet realised
Selling a peice of open land for housing would have an affect on the residents in the surrounding area. So as you would expect from your elected representatives, Teresa Murray and Nick Bowler consulted with the residents, listening to their concerns and then acted accordingly.
That is why, for many years, Labour councillors opposed the selling of Copperfield.
Consulting with residents and actually taking into account what they think is a foreign concept to our Tory council as demonstrated on numerous occasions such as Wes Holland wanting to move Lordswood library last year.
But on the issue on Copperfields, I'd like to quote from a letter printed in The Medway Messenger
on Oct 6th:"So Medway Council got a good report from the Audit Commission. It retained its three stars. Great. But one part of the report was puzzling for us residents who live around the (now) ill-fated wildlife area at Copperfield, Rochester, behind Compass Close."The Commission's report described Medway as being "good" for consultation with residents. What evidence for this did the inspectors use? They were certainly not invited to study in detail how the sale of this site was managed."There was never any meaningful consultation. From the beginning, at the October 14 2003, Cabinet meeting, the ruling party was set on selling. The minutes show this clearly. They had/have a voting majority and knew they could push the sale through. They explicitly voted out the proposal to consult residents in a subsequent meeting."To justify their case, the Conservative councillors consistently presented our opposition as a Labour-generated ploy to score points. It was no such thing. We are a non-political grouping. It was a deeply-held conviction of the value of the site to both widlife and community. "That counted for nothing. "Quite the reverse. Two Cabinet members in meetings (with us present) branded us as "hangers on of Teresa Murray" our hard-working Labour councillor. They accused her of "stirring up ill feeling". There was ill-feeling - but stirred up by the complacency of Cabinet."Perhaps, worse than all that was Cabinet's total disregard for the grammar school's inspired plan (backed by Rochester Math School) to turn part of the site into a biodiversity centre open to all schools."This matter has been a charade of democracy: going through the motions to fulfil the letter of the law for mere financial gain. The final planning meeting was a forgone conclusion. Had they really engaged with our case, a compromise would have been reached which would have satisfied all parties: council, residents, schools, developers and, not least, wildlife. A great educational opportunity has gone forever."John Abram, The Tideway, Rochester.