An informative site built through necessity, due to the appalling behaviour of local Councilliars supported by the restrictive censorship policies of the local press in the Portishead area who feel it is their duty to remove any factual statements of wrongdoings by local Councilliars
From: Liese Stanley
Date: Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: FW: For your consideration
To: Alan McMurray
I am perplexed. Are you aware that the three sites that allowed real possibility of developing a skatepark
Land close to the Leisure Centre, ruled out by planning officers due to noise concerns. This was reiterated to the group of councillors who revisited the site later in the process, yourself included.
Kilkenny Fields, ruled out by Cllr Ap Rees and seemingly not supported by Cllr Pasley who sent concerns from local residents to and discussed the site with the deputy leader. This was a real shame, as at the time, the PSP were aware that this was the less contentious of the remaining 2 sites (the third being Lake Grounds) and had entered into positive discussions with planning officers, user group and police.
However, Cllr Ap Rees categorically ruled out the site. At the time I wrote to him, as town council representative and asked for his reasoning. Initially he stated it was due to amount of objections from local residents but was unable to state even a ballpark figure for the number of objections that he had received. Later he stated it was due to lack of support. Even after our Town Council wrote asking for the site to be considered, he replied that he would not support it and that The PSP should be looking at other areas, including the Lake Grounds.
The Lake Grounds was pursued only after Cllr Ap Rees' own assistance was offered and accepted from the PSP and his officers reported back to him that the site near to the boat hut was indeed the preferable location and the deputy leader agreed that the PSPcould move forward with a planning application.
Obviously years later, Cllr Knight raised again the possibility of Kilkenny Fields being a potential site. It is welcoming to note that you had no objections to the area, but remiss to state that this was the first time that the area had been considered by the PSP.If the local councillor and the deputy leader had been supportive back in 2007 it may well be in use by now.
The third time the general area was discussed was when it was raised at the only meeting with the Town Council Wheels working party, instigated by Cllr Terry in 2011. Although the area discussed widened, and the suggested location now the disused golf course, the PSP again agreed to consider and apply criteria. It was generally agreed that if the area was developed to incorporate more facilities to encourage social supervision, that it should be pursued.
Within days North Somerset Council announced that the concession for the golf course was being put out to tender, confirming our thanks for the district councillors' efforts and hoping for success in finding a site. At no point did the PSP say it did not wish for assistance. It would however appear that the PSP continuing with the planning appeal alongside efforts to find an alternative site aggrieved some of those district councillors present and sadly no further communication occurred.
However, I am beginning to believe that the difficulties in strained communication between district councillors and executive members and the PSP are more to do with differences in attitudes. I can only speak for myself when I say that it was my belief, both as a resident and town councillor, that if a proposal was put forward, openly, factually and after considerable discussion with various interested parties then the conclusion and decision would also be based on facts and after due process and proper and open consideration had taken place.
My understanding is that this has not always been the case. I am aware that comments such as Cllr Baker's "if you want favours from councillors you should not write to the papers" made at the meeting to which you referred, and those just read where you state that members of the PSP did not behave in a way to "make friends and influence people" make me sad. I do not believe that this situation is about making friends or wanting favours from those in power. This situation is about fulfilling a need and commitment to the youth of Portishead and that should be done, factually, fairly, openly and after due process applied equally to whichever site is under discussion. All of our individual egos should be left firmly at the door. I am also surprised that you felt that members of the PSP behaved badly at election time. Simply put independently of the PSP, Sarah Souter and myself displayed information stating who supported the skate park at the Lake Grounds and who did not. This was in response to many residents confusion after reading the conservative party literature posted through their doors. This stated that some conservative councillors supported a second skatepark in the town. However it was not made clear to residents that this did not include the Lake Grounds site.
Despite being accused in the press and at Town Council of this being illegal activity I can assure you that this is not the case. I have confirmation from both the Electoral Commission and the police that no law was broken. This should be good news for you Alan, as if we had broken a law, your own car ,which I was told was parked opposite North Weston Polling Station during election day and displaying Conservative
Party Posters, could also have been subjected to the same prosecution!
Happy to continue discussion,