FAIR PLAY - WEST DORSET DISTRICT COUNCIL STYLE
I thought local councillors were elected to serve their communities. You wouldn't have thought the councillors in Dorchester have any interest in doing what is best for the people of Toller Porcorum when you read this:
OPEN LETTER TO ROBERT GOULD,LEADER OF WEST DORSET DISTRICT COUNCIL
Dated 8/11/2010, Copied to all councillors 9/11/2010
You have stated to the Press this week that "the document from SOS urging the council to compulsory purchase The Old Swan at Toller Porcorum was not a fully worked up proposal. The District Council's legal team confirmed that it was lacking in a number of respects."
The SOS Toller (Save The Old Swan Group) are shocked to hear this from youTWO YEARS AFTER the submission for compulsory purchase was handed to you in November 2008. This is outrageous!
The submission was the result of two years' research and put the economic, social and environmental case for compulsory purchase, quoting relevant legislation etc. We showed that the Council could recoup any expenses by putting them on the sale price. We had considerable help on legal matters from an eminent QC. WE HAVE NEVER HEARD FROM YOU OR ANYONE ELSE IN WEST DORSET DISTRICT COUNCIL THAT THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT during the TWO YEARS since you received it. In fact, David Evans (Director of Planning and Communities) actually said "this is very good" at the time.
We have never had any discussion with WDDC or comments about our submission and the first and ONLY face to face meeting we had with you, David Evans and the Head of Legal Services, was in late July this year, arranged by Oliver Letwin MP. At that meeting, you and David Evans were both asked if you had actually read it, to which you both replied "yes of course". THERE WAS NO OTHER COMMENT ON ITS CONTENT at this meeting.
Why then Mr Gould are you only now telling us, via the Press, that "it was lacking in a number of respects"? If there were flaws in the proposal, why did you not have the courtesy of advising us of these?
Why did the Head of Legal Services not say anything at the July meeting?
Why have you sat on this for TWO YEARS without saying anything to the SOS Toller Group? It seems to us to be rude, dismissive, arrogant and ignorant.
It is suspected that you had no intention at all of even considering compulsory purchase even as a "last resort" as you consistently say at Council meetings. Perhaps we should have realised this at the time of the meeting you had with two villagers (not part of the SOS group who were banned from the meeting) and John Palmer when, as reported back to us, you TWICE stated that you would NEVER compulsory purchase any of Palmers' pubs. As advised by Dr Evans, no notes were kept by WDDC of that meeting but the two villagers did.
We - and the villagers of Toller Porcorum and Hooke - demand answers Mr Gould! We invite you to come to Toller within the next two weeks to meet with the villagers at a public meeting to explain your actions.
What chance for the people of Lyme Regis or the hoteliers who are queueing up to buy The Three Cups to run AS A HOTEL and the cultural tourists who would come from all over the UK and around the world to spend money in the town? It's time WDDC council started working in the interests of the electorate and not Palmers Brewery or should we say Palmers Property Developers for the occasional weekenders?