Council should drop Penrith masterplan in response to public outcry

Date: Monday 26th November 2018

Sir, Eden District Council leader Kevin Beaty has stated in the Herald and elsewhere several times that “if there is a huge outcry then our masterplan will not be adopted”.

Let’s review what the public response has been. We’ve seen a march and protest rally of many hundreds of people through the town, two separate petitions gathering well over 2,500 signatures each, months of critical letters in this newspaper, and hundreds of critical comments on Facebook.

Penrith Town Council and Friends of the Lake District have sent letters to the council which are highly critical both of the process that led to the masterplan and the proposals within it.

Many Eden councillors have also been openly critical of the masterplan, which, it is important to note, has been entirely driven by just the seven councillors on the executive, only one of whom actually represents Penrith.

The extent to which the executive is detached from the people of Penrith is clear from its willingness to permit development in the Beacon forest.

Meanwhile, the executive is spending more money on analysis of data gathered from the official “engagement process” with its online questionnaire that was so obviously biased in design that it would be comical if the potential outcomes weren’t so serious.

In council meetings in recent weeks Mr Beaty was asked to accept that the response in public so far has been a huge outcry, but declined to answer one way or the other (it seems that the public has a right to ask questions, but no right to receive answers).

The executive should now admit that there has been a huge outcry from the public and elsewhere, drop the masterplan and commit to consulting openly with the people of Penrith on how they want their town to develop. Yours etc,

SIMON ELLISON-BUNCE

Wordsworth Street,

Penrith.