Letters to the Editor

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A selection of letters to the Daventry Express (February 3)

Pods are not viable in town

IT IS once again the time that the council thinks that we have the memory span of a goldfish, and it is safe to squander our hard earned cash.

I refer to their latest ploy to introduce the pod transport system (PRT) under the guise of rejuvenation of the Southbrook.

How by replacing an existing form of transport, i.e. the bus, will that improve matters? The money would be utilized better by investing in the infrastructure.

Travelling off the Southbrook for whatever you require, be it groceries, entertainment, medicines, etc, does not change because you are in a pod, and would be quicker on the bus.

The cost of this venture would never be recouped.

Ask your councillor why are they so intent on spending money and who are the real beneficiaries.

The Daventry PRT Scoping Study (available on the net) reveals some interesting facts: “Southbrook relatively close to town centre, difficult access – may require land acquisition.

“The estimated staffing is 25 with an annual salary bill which totals £218,000 based on February 2008 figures. Operation and maintenance costs per annum £1,052,500. Pilot capital costs £23,785,919.”

Other countries have looked at PRT and in some areas it is feasible, but a small market town like Daventry surely does not fit the bill.

I quote from the American press: “It is operationally and economically unfeasible,” Vukan Vuchic, a professor of transportation and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press.

“In the city, if you have that much demand, you could build these guideways and afford the millions it would take, but you wouldn’t have the capacity.

“In the suburbs, you would have the capacity, but the demand would be so thin you couldn’t possibly pay for those guideways, elevated stations, control systems and everything else.”

If the council is intent on spending huge amounts of money then for heaven’s sake lets get practical and do something that benefits everyone.

Darren Clayton

Via email

Other estates will benefit too

IN ANSWER to Ian Freeley (Letters, January 27) I can assure him that, as one of the councillors representing Daventry District Council on the West Northants Joint Planning Committee (JPC), we are pressing to ensure that existing areas such as the Grange and the Headlands will benefit from the growth proposals contained within the West Northants joint core strategy.

The paper being considered at the moment is a pre-submission version and, when approved, will be out for six weeks consultation most likely in February, when Mr Freeley and all will have the chance to submit their comments on all aspects of the paper.

Cllr Deanna Eddon,

Abbey South Ward

DDC

Regeneration is much needed

THE letter D FOR Daventry not Disneyland, from Ian Freeley in last week’s paper, set out to ridicule the leader of Daventry District Council, the joint planning unit and the joint planning committee, which has been directed by government to produce a joint development strategy, rather than allowing a developer/market-led free-for-all, with the social and economic consequences.

Mr Freeley may be opposed to the district council’s regeneration and development agenda, however it is designed to address the serious, but never popular issues of regeneration and development, which are necessary if it is to deliver affordable and energy-efficient homes, renew our residential and business estates, and continue to attract the inward investment.

With the national economy faltering, Daventry has sent out a clear message - we’re open for business, that regeneration is of vital importance to the future prosperity of our community, in particular, meeting the needs and aspirations of our citizens.

Notwithstanding the ‘growth vs localism’ tug of war, many are in need of homes and would welcome the opportunity to work, rent or purchase a home in Daventry, and contrary to your correspondent’s understanding, additional and affordable homes are to be provided in the villages, a view endorsed by the undersigned and members of the JPC.

Likewise the views expressed about the Abbey Retail Park and iCon, the hosting and contribution to the advanced transport systems debate, illustrates a misunderstanding of the council’s aims and objectives: to keep Daventry at the leading edge of applied technology.

This is exemplified by the drive to secure a university technical college, the renewal of our industrial and commercial estates, major investments to attract high skill, high value and secure employment at a critical period in the town’s development, and to ensure, whatever one’s talents, it is a good place to live, work and play.

Cllr Chris Over

Economic, regeneration and employment portfolio

Joint plan will end uncertainty

THE West Northants Joint Planning Committee has approved to put the pre-submission draft of the joint core strategy (JCS) out to consultation, which will enable further public representations to be made during a six-week period commencing on February 17.

It is important to recognise that one of the major changes with the new planning system and an important facet of the JCS, is that when a specific area is allocated for growth then the local infrastructure requirements relating to education, health, roads, etc to support the development are a requirement that then must be met or the development will not get built!

I can understand the scepticism that many may have but this fundamental change should help the West Northamptonshire area not repeat the mistakes of the past.

With a collective housing waiting list at Daventry District, Northampton Borough and South Northants councils of just under 12,000 people, and the results of population and household projections which can be viewed on the joint planning unit’s website, there is very clear evidence that a requirement exists to build more homes in the period up to 2026 to service the needs of the existing population.

One of the interesting pieces of evidence presented to the committee is that the numbers of persons per household will continue to fall in the years ahead.

The housing numbers put forward in the latest plan are well below the last government’s regional spatial strategy numbers and even further below what the development industry via the Home Builders Federation would like to see.

While very difficult decisions lie ahead it would in my opinion be a dereliction of duty by elected representatives to shirk the responsibility of taking the necessary decisions to ensure there is adequate housing provision for our existing population up to 2026 in a planned and cohesive manner, thereby ensuring we build communities not just houses and support inward investment with the creation of new jobs.

There is only one sensible option in my view as without a plan in place our communities will face much uncertainty in the form of an unco-ordinated developer-led approach which, as seen recently in Daventry, can lead to huge appeal costs and possibly also without the community infrastructure requirements in place which may lead to a repeat of past mistakes!

Cllr Chris Millar

Chairman

West Northants Joint Planning Committee

Farming is part of local needs

WITH the planning application for a Cemetery and Crematorium in Willoughby this raises several points of conflict with the farming community.

How can there be a proposal for a 22,000-plot cemetery for humans when as farmers we are not even allowed to bury one single sheep.

As this is purely a commercial venture to sell burial plots on the internet, based on the applicant’s previous site, why should it take up medieval ridge and furrow grazing land?

As farmers we are not allowed to plough ridge and furrow, this application will flatten it.

When as farmers we are trying to move livestock, or get the harvest in, how do we negotiate the funeral corteges on the narrow country lanes?

This application is not for local needs, but farming is.

Richard Heckford

Manor Farm,

Willoughby

Better hearses than fast vans

REGARDING the letter about the proposed Willoughby crematorium in last week’s edition, I would like to respond to some of the points raised by Kathleen Hayter.

While opposing the crematorium on planning grounds is perhaps understandable, I find the emotive argument of ‘shuddering as funeral cortege’ pass the young, elderly and villagers to be the worst form of nimbyism.

When faced with the unfortunate, but probably inevitable, circumstance of attending a cremation service, does Kathleen always consider the houses and residents that she has passed? Probably not.

To anticipate the reaction about whether I would like 30 funeral processions a day coming through Newnham, my answer is they would be entirely preferable to the 10 or so white vans that charge through the village in the morning at about 60mph.

John Shakespeare

Bradbury Road,

Newnham

Praise for hospital staff

I WOULD like to thank all of the staff at the hospital for all of the superb treatment we had at all times while we were there.

Every morning we were greeted with a smiling face.

Once again, thank you to all the staff.

Shirley MacNab

Orchard Street

Drayton

New forum for old soldiers

THE children of former members of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry have formed an association called ‘Children of the Regiment’.

Their main objective is to create a forum whereby ‘old soldiers’ can keep in touch with one another and ,perhaps as importantly, fill in the memory gaps for the children whose fathers are no longer alive.

Further information may be obtained from the chairman Brian Bower on brian.bower@tiscali.co.uk or the secretary Caryl Billingham, on caryl.billingham@tesco.net

The organisation is not sure if its records are complete and current, so anyone who did not receive an NYA Christmas card is asked to forward their details and ensure an up-to-date mailing list.

The Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association holds an annual dinner in Northampton and, additional to this, the Children of the Regiment are planning to hold a spring get-together in Northampton on the weekend of March 27 to 28.

The initial plans are to get together for a buffet lunch on the Saturday followed by a private visit to the regiment’s museum in Northampton.

There is then an option to stay on for a dinner and a further option to stay overnight in a Northampton hotel. If you would like to participate, please contact me on the email above. The cut-off date for firming up details is Monday 21 February.

Caryl Billingham

Brackley