Friday, 28 February 2014

Open letter to Councillor Julie Marson and Laura Sandys MP from Councillor Will Scobie



I think this is the first open letter and guest blogger I've featured here on Margate Architecture. Following the debate last night across the council chamber regarding the proposed Cliftonville Conservation Area roll out. Councillor Will Scobie has penned an open letter. oh, and congrats to Will and Jodie on getting married!

p.s. Please do pop in to tomorrow's Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum public meeting:
2pm-4pm 
Cliftonville Community Centre, St Paul's Road, Cliftonville.
Details here:
http://margateneighbourhoodplanforum.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/public-meeting-march-1st-margate-neighbourhood-plan-forum/


Open letter to Julie Marson and Laura Sandys – Conservation areas in Cliftonville

Dear Julie and Laura,

I would like to suggest that we meet to discuss the issue of conservation areas in Cliftonville so that we can work together on this important issue. I have been a vocal supporter of conservation areas in Cliftonville since I was elected to represent the area in May 2013. I think that by working together we can make sure that we have a scheme that protects the historical beauty of Cliftonville. The motion that was presented by Julie at the meeting of Thanet District Council on the 27thFebruary unfortunately failed to get cross-party support for the scheme. We have the opportunity here to change that.

I feel that we mostly agree about conservation areas in Cliftonville and that a meeting would allow us to form a common position. Unfortunately in modern politics we spend far too much time talking about the things we disagree on rather than focusing on areas of agreement. This open letter is an attempt to try and get past this.

The areas that we disagree on are over the extent of the conservation areas and whether this can be done at once or phased over time. I am happy to discuss both of these issues. I did not support Julie’s original motion that proposed going beyond the English Heritage appraisals because we were presented with no evidence that residents wanted it extended to these areas. Nor were Council members provided with any factual evidence of the need to conserve these additional areas. However we can certainly discuss this and I will listen to your ideas. If there is a desire from residents for their area to be included, or if there is a factual case for it to be extended to other areas, then I am prepared to listen and talk about this openly.

Similarly I am also happy to discuss whether the conservation areas should be brought in at once or phased. I opposed them being done simultaneously because after speaking with Conservation and Planning Officers at the Council it became apparent that we not have adequate resources to do this. My worry would be that this could impact heavily upon conservation work taking place elsewhere in Thanet and potentially be very costly if rushed. If you have a proposal on how we can deliver conservation areas simultaneously with the resources available then I am prepared to listen to your views.

I hope that you will take me up on my offer because if we can agree a common position then it will send a clear message that politics in Thanet is changing. It will also allow us to deliver something incredibly important for the people of Cliftonville. I hope that we can put party politics aside for the good of Cliftonville.

Yours sincerely,

Will Scobie.

Kent County Councillor for Margate and Cliftonville and Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet.

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