JPK Project: making use of the system

I write to comment on the recent letters in the Herald from Mr. Len Fitzgerald and Roger Gordan with regard to the JPK project.

Although a member of the architectural team involved in the project, I write in a personal capacity and as a resident of this town for over 27 years.

In his presentation to the planning committee Mr. Loxley Harding, in quoting the numbers of signatories to his petition, quite rightly called for the democratic views of his supporters to be considered.

However, the democratic processes on which our society rely are safeguarded by a system of checks and balances, represented in the planning process by the appeal mechanism, and JPK are well within their rights in making use of this system, as individuals and organisations do on a regular basis throughout the country.

There is nothing irresponsible in pursuing, within the legal framework, a review of a decision which they feel to have been incorrect, the result at best of a total misunderstanding by committee members of the proposed development, and contrary to the professional advice given by their experienced planning officers and highways engineers.

Planning committee members would have been only too aware that a refusal to approve this development, against the advice of their officers, was almost certainly going to result in an appeal, so if we are to talk about “irresponsibility” perhaps it should be redirected from the targets identified by Mr. Fitzgerald, who might also wish to refer to the Highways Engineers report of 3 September (still available on the council website) which not only recommends approval of the project but carefully sets out the ESCC reasoning. Hardly “misleading”!

Mr. Szanto made use of his democratic right in placing on record his support for the project.

I for one find it encouraging that there are still local councillors(and ex-councillors) who are prepared to openly support something which they believe to be both right and good for the future of their community regardless of whether or not this is likely to be vote-catching, and we should support such people, not denigrate them as “irresponsible” simply because they do not agree with our own narrow viewpoint.

Finally, as far as I am aware Mr. Fitzgerald is not a party to the decision-making process of the JPK Trustees, nor to the depth of evaluation that was carried out before finally agreeing to pursue an approval for this site.

It is surely irresponsible of him, therefore, to assert that they did not do so properly, whilst it is nothing short of insulting to assert that they did so“relying on one individual’s ambitions to guide them” as if they were lead by the nose like so many sheep, without balanced discussion and appraisal.

I am sure the democratic process will be found safe and well at all meetings of the JPK Trustees.

PETER MURPHY, Beverington Close.