Posted by: swinemoor | June 28, 2014

A Denial of Free Speech

This week the ERYC have written to those who have registered an objection to P J Livesey’s amended proposals for the Beverley Westwood Hospital site.  Once again, with ERYC, it is not what they do much of the time but the way that they do it! On this occasion they have written to Objectors saying that the Planning Committee will determine the case on 3rd July 2014. The letters sent out were dated 25 June (See Figure 1), therefore, ERYC are only giving objectors a week in which to prepare for the planning meeting. This is for an application that had a petition signed by more than 7,000 signatories, large numbers of amendments to their proposals on ERYC’s labyrinthine website and hundreds of letters from objectors and supporters. Is this reasonable?

Planning Meeting Letter

Figure 1

As if this were not enough, ERYC have decided that, if you wish to object (or support) the application, you will only be given five minutes in which to speak. Yes, five minutes and, wait for it…  Only one person will be allowed to speak and this right is granted on a first come, first served basis. This, in the opinion of NSH, once again makes a mockery of free speech and is designed to allow the development to go through ‘on the nod’ from the Planning Committee on whom sits the East Riding Ward Councillor for the site, Cllr Bryan Pearson. This exercise raises some points which we at NSH believe that Mr Pearson needs to be aware of before he votes. Mr Pearson is a Conservative, one of nine in Beverley (and one of nine out of twelve who sit on the Committee) , who, if you read the Beverley Guardian, do not appear to be representing their constituents by not turning down excessive green field development around the town. In the case of this development, there has been considerable disquiet among his constituents yet his party has determined that it is acceptable, in terms of local democracy, to rush this application (which was made in November 2013) through planning with one week’s notice only allowing one person (how were they chosen one wonders?) to speak. This is bad enough but, sadly, there is more. On the 16 June the ERYC wrote to all those who commented on the proposals to say that amended proposals from P J Livesey were now available for viewing on ERYC’s Planning Portal (see Figure 2). The closing date for comments on these is 30 June 2014. In addition the Agenda for the day says that the application for Listed Building Consent should be ‘approved’ and for full planning permission be ‘deferred’. However, it also delegates this power to a council officer pending the signing of a Section 106 Agreement. In other words this application will not be coming in front of the Planning Committee again and this is your last chance to comment on it.

Figure 2

Figure 2

What ERYC have done, therefore, is provided the Planning Committee with a 190 page summary of the planning application before the closing period for comments. In other words, if you comment on the application now, they will not form part of the paperwork submitted to the Committee members in advance of the meeting? This is a denial of free speech and makes a travesty of the planning process in the East Riding. ERYC used a similar approach to push through an underfunded, cottage hospital on flood-prone land a few years ago and now they are up to it again. Come on Mr Pearson, stick up for your constituents. It is only 11 months to the council election and it’s about time you and your 8 colleagues started standing-up for the people of Beverley. This application cannot be pushed-through without proper scrutiny. The people of Beverley need to have their say in public. To do anything else is a betrayal of their democratic right to free speech. This application raises all sorts of concerns from natural history through built heritage, overlooking through to drainage. It cannot be given on ‘the nod’. It needs to go to a full public enquiry. We at NSH would ask that you call for one next week, if you do not you risk being punished at the ballot box in May 2015. We will not forget…..


Responses

  1. More power to your elbow, say I!

    Paul Booth.

  2. Mr Pearson isn’t interested in the views of those in Beverley, unless they are Tory voters. I discovered this recently when corresponding with him. I doubt that he will care one way or another.


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