Cabinet Meeting Report
Meeting Date: 9 October 2007
Description: Lancaster City Council Cabinet meet to consider the potential sale of Lawson's field at Scotforth on the A6, without any consultation.
New Supermarket in Lancaster? - 9 Oct 07
Once again Lancaster City Council are planning to sell off OUR land for development without consultation. This time the Council wants to sell a greenfield site on the A6 to a supermarket, probably Tesco. The Council Cabinet met on Tuesday 9th October 2007 to make a decision. IOC were at the meeting - read our report below.
Report of Cabinet meeting on 9th October 2007
Lancaster City Council Cabinet met on Tuesday 9th October to consider the potential sale of Lawson's field (the first green field on the right coming out of Scotforth on the A6). This will be to a major supermarket, widely suspected to be Tesco. The Council plans to enter into a Development Agreement prior to the submission of a planning application, exactly as was done for the Canal Corridor North site. Mr. Donnellon (Corporate Director - Regeneration) was asked to test the market for the site and then report back to Cabinet with his findings, meaning that there is no irrevocable commitment yet to sell the land.
Despite a referral from Overview and Scrutiny, speeches from Green Councillors Emily Heath and Jane Fletcher, plus statements from residents Tim Hamilton-Cox, Mike Hardy and Suzanne Jackson all asking for a deferral of the consideration of a decision to sell the land at Lawson's Field, Cabinet decided by 8 votes to 2 to go for the cash .This was despite two motions put forward by Cllrs Maia Whitelegg and Jon Barry which were
- to defer the decision and hold a proper public consultation (which lost 8-2) then
- to not sell Lawson's Bridge, seek to provide extra food facilities in the city centre, and look for alternative capital receipts (which also lost 8-2)
Once again IOC observers recognised the script. It is exactly the same as the one used for the Canal Corridor North site, the only differences being this time (5 days before the crucial Cabinet meeting) some residents of Lancaster did get to hear of it and could attempt to make their opposition known, and the site is a greenfield and not brownfield site.
When pressed, Officer Donnellon (Corporate Director for Degeneration) stated that the reason the sale of this site was not in the Forward Plan, or the Budget and Policy Framework, i.e in the public domain, was an oversight. IT'S OUR CITY find it extremely strange that such a controversial topic and site would be overlooked in this way. However, Cabinet members (apart from the two green councillors) followed the officer and voted in agreement with him.
History repeats itself: again, a major planning decision has been made by our elected representatives, without any input or consultation by the electorate.
However we do need to be extremely vigilant. We must make sure that the results of the test marketing are put into the public domain. Again, we face a long hard battle with our council over a development that residents are opposed to and if previous experience is anything to go by, LCC will be less than proactive in keeping us informed, and in seeking and more importantly taking account of our views. Just remember whose city it is!
Quotes of the day – what our Council really thinks about consultation
- Labour Councillor for John O'Gaunt, Eileen Blamire, said "How would doing a consultation help us? I need a reason and I can't see one."
- The Conservative Leader of the Council, Cllr Roger Mace said "we've had lots of emails so there has been a consultation already".
- Lib Dem Councillor for Scotforth East (which borders onto Lawson's Field) John Gilbert said that "starting to market the land will allow consultation to take place" and also "the public can consult all they want".
We can see from these cynical answers what councillors think about considering the opinions of the people who voted for them. Eileen Blamire is currently (2012), leader of the council!