THE CHAIR of the Gissing Parish Council has hit back at Ockendon resident, Stan Rainbird labelling the community as “Village Idiots” over his planning application in the Norfolk village.
Chair, Dr Jim Philip writes:
We are writing on behalf of residents of Gissing (Norfolk) in response to Stan Rainbird’s partial, negative and ill-tempered comments concerning objections to his recent planning application to South Norfolk District Council (Application reference 2012/1305). The main points that the ‘Village Idiots’ would like to make are as follows.
1. Objectors are seeking to protect for future generations the unique architectural and landscape features of the core of a Norfolk village, designated in 1994 as a Conservation Area. Stan’s original permission (granted in 1974) and his attempts to revise it, are no longer appropriate to current evaluations and potential roles of the site.
2. Objectors are seeking to protect the interests of the adjacent charitable, social and commercial enterprises (including Gissing Children’s Centre, rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted) whose futures would be put at risk by the proposed development. These organisations currently employ circa 20 individuals and contribute greatly to the sustainability of the village economy and community.
3. Objectors are of the view that Stan’s neglect of the site for 40 years (and his failure to halt the spread of Japanese Knotweed upon it) has constituted an undue nuisance and risk to local residents and their land and properties (including water courses).
4. Objectors support the strong conviction widely held in the local community that this key open space in the centre of the village should come into public or charitable ownership.
5. Objectors are taking their current stance in the light of previous attempts to negotiate with Stan over the past ten years. These include a land exchange arrangement brokered in 2003/4 to which he gave apparent consent, only to withdraw in the final stages.
6. Objectors are keen to see this matter resolved on the basis of adequate compensation being paid to Stan in return for his relinquishment of the site. They have again invited him to participate in direct discussions but so far have received no reply.
In your related article you make the statement that Stan is an active supporter of charities. Perhaps he would like to read closely the detailed objections of two highly respected local charities to his proposals. They might also give him a better understanding of how our village community works, and why it deserves more respect than he is apparently willing to give it. Attached is a set of background notes that may be of further use to you and your readers in making up your own minds on this issue. If any Thurrock residents would like to assess the situation for themselves they will receive a warm welcome at the ‘Gissing Crown Inn’ !
Gissing Parish Council
(Chair Dr J Philip) – on behalf of the ‘Village Idiots’