LDC has recently undertaken a leafleting exercise, spending tax payers’ money promoting New Homes in East Chiltington.
This is a very dubious exercise for a local council to undertake for such a controversial proposal, which villagers have almost unanimously opposed, and has not yet been fully researched or received any planning approval.
It is even more questionable in this case, as the council is also the landowner and has already given the developer a contract to build it.
There are also ‘errors’ (my word) in the wording of the leaflet that the council themselves concede are ‘confusing’ (their word).
They make reference in this leaflet, specifically entitled New Homes in East Chiltington, to environmental impact surveys and traffic and parking studies.
However, when checking these references, it turns out they are not about East Chiltington at all, but are about other members of the controversial ‘49 sites’ group.
My concern is that by referencing these non-existent studies, it implies to recipients of the leaflet that all proper channels have been followed and all concerns have been addressed, when this is not true at all. These studies are in fact about completely different sites.
The reference to traffic studies is particularly insidious, as anyone who has to use the roads in East Chiltington would know that they are rural roads, with few passing bays, subject to flooding, and are used frequently by cyclists and horse riders and ramblers.
It is highly controversial and undemocratic to try to marginalise these issues.
LDC has a duty to contact people who they sent this leaflet to and inform them that the content of the leaflet is confusing, and may be misleading. So far they have refused to do this.
I do wonder how often they have used what they call ‘generic’ information, to ‘confuse’ people in other issues.
The other controversial aspect of this leafleting campaign is that to my knowledge, no-one in East Chiltington received it.
The new houses proposed for East Chiltington, allegedly ear-marked for local people, have not been promoted in East Chiltington. I asked LDC why this was the case and they asked me to investigate it myself.
Last month there was a unanimous call from councillors to call a halt to the progress of planning applications for the 49 sites, due to concerns about the way the whole proposal has been managed and processed.
Let us hope that a proper, democratic process can now reveal how else they have ‘confused’ us in their dealings with the public in this matter and any others.