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Anger over Weston homes decision and sympathy with Ukraine in this week's letters

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Here are the Spalding Guardian letters from March 17, 2022...

At South Holland District Council’s planning committee meeting last week, the full application for 150 homes on behalf of Persimmon was considered, having been refused last year.

Ward councillors Andrew Woolf, Anthony Casson and Rodney Grocock spoke on behalf of the residents in objection to this proposal on the grounds of over-development, poor design and being not in keeping with the village setting. The chair of Weston Parish Council spoke and challenged the original figures that were used to calculate the number of homes per site.

This point was totally ignored and was not raised or commented on by councillors or planning officers.

A letter from Sir John Hayes MP was read out where he informed the committee of the National Framework for Housing which could be used to refuse the application and he felt if this was ignored the council may breaching the policy.

Coun Gambba-Jones claimed that the committee could only deal with policy and not guidelines from the Government– this was backed by the chair of the committee Coun Avery. This in fact is untrue and is Government Policy under the National Framework, which Sir John Hayes was trying to explain in his letter.

It appeared that many of those present had entered the meeting with their minds already made up. Having sat through this application I would have to say that the majority of district councillors on that committee showed no respect or regard for Weston, so much so Weston was compared to Donington, which most know is a much larger settlement with far more infrastructure.

Coun Lawton stated that Weston, apart from the church, has no real character and another councillor said: “What is so special about Weston?”

Coun Tennant, of Sutton Bridge, stated: “I hope we are not going to spend another hour discussing the sewage problems like last time.”

This unfortunately is what local ordinary residents must face from their district council when it comes to planning matters.

I must thank Couns Grocock, Woolf and Casson for their support and comments at the meeting.

I must also thank Sir John Hayes MP, who has supported the residents of Weston throughout and has tirelessly tried to advise the district council in how to assess this proposal.

On the advice of our MP, we may be seeking a judicial review and an approach to the Ombudsman.

The people of South Holland deserve better from their elected officials and not to be rode roughshod by a committee who some of which have never been to Weston and have little knowledge of the historic problems we face with Anglian Water’s infrastructure regarding sewage.

Chris Dicks

Weston resident

John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon
John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Let’s say ‘I am Ukranian’

It is almost four weeks since the Russian Army invaded Ukraine. For those of us who can remember, I am reminded of another occasion, almost 60 years ago, when another city was encircled by Russians wanting to take control of it, denying it its freedom. On June 26, 1963, President Kennedy visited West Berlin, promising to maintain its freedom, and, to the rapt audience of nearly half a million in front of West Berlin’s City Hall, declared he took pride in saying “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or, “I am a Berliner.

Thirty years later Communism had died and Berlin was free of Russian oppression, Russia itself a broken husk of its former self.

Thirty more years on and the Russians are back! Having invaded a free country without cause, subjecting its people to a savage war, destroying cities, industries, hospitals and schools; terrorising its people into leaving their homeland to become refugees in other countries, we see another city being threatened, its citizens bombed and shelled, facing a pitiless enemy intent on denying them their freedom and turning Ukraine into a vassal state. All across the world, we have seen many nations united in their opposition to Putin’s lies, deceit, greed, bullying and killing. We have seen the world’s support for Ukraine, and now we hear the words “Ya Ukrayinets” (I am Ukranian) being declared.

Two thousand years ago, while teaching about helping one’s neighbour, Jesus was asked, “Who IS my neighbour?” Jesus’ response was unequivocal. ANYONE you see who is hurting or in need of help, is your neighbour. Our response to Ukraine’s plight should be to offer whatever help we can, even if it’s only to pray for them. For I am convinced that if Jesus was here today, HE would be the first to say “Ya Ukrayinets!” Jesus would be urging us to do all in our power to help and support Ukraine, for today, Ukraine is our neighbour!

John Chester

Spalding Baptist Church

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