Dialogue should have been from the start

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“WHY not open some dialogue with the people of Spalding?” Mr Holmes rightly asks Coun Biggadike (Lincolnshire Free Press, October 9). Perhaps the problem is that neither council nor developer seem to understand what dialogue means.

Suppose, when Corbo first made its interest known to the council back in 2010, the council had issued a statement something like this:

“We recognise that the layout and facilities of Holland Market and the Winfrey Avenue area are unsatisfactory. We understand that the owner of a large part of the site is willing to put a considerable sum into redeveloping the whole area from King’s Road through to the Sheepmarket. As this would be a project of major importance for Spalding, we are inviting people to let us know how they would like to see the area reshaped into somewhere more attractive and integrated with the town centre.

“We shall then report back on the most frequent suggestions and ones of particular interest and imagination; and we would hope to be able to incorporate some of them into the plans as they start to evolve.

“As the scheme may well involve the purchase or leasing of land at present in other ownership (including the council’s), the council may need to enter into an ‘exclusivity agreement’ with the developer to protect the commercial interests of the parties concerned. Although this would mean that detailed plans are unlikely to become public before the formal planning application is made, we will do our best to give people a broad picture.”

Wouldn’t it have been nice and avoided the ill-will and suspicion that now surround the project, the widespread feeling of being kept in the dark while deals are being done behind closed doors?

John Charlesworth, John Honnor and Robert West

Spalding and District Civic Society