WRITE to us by emailing [email protected] or post us a letter at Malvern Observer, Letters to Editor, Church Green East, Redditch, B98 8BP
THE FIGURES revealing Malvern is one of Britain’s worst places for underpaid workers is truly at odds with many people’s perception that the town is populated predominantly by wealthy residents.
While those in work are no doubt grateful to have a job following the country’s economic recession, it does not mean employers should be at liberty to take advantage and pay people less than they deserve.
The living wage is designed to ensure a basic quality of life for workers. There are enough people in the country all too willing to avoid work, so those in employment should not be punished.
IT IS a pity that, in making some very perceptive and pertinent comments about the democratic deficit at MHDC (that many of us councillors have been battling with almost since the Tory administration took office), Will Richards ends his letter by revealing that, while it may be the ‘new kid on the block’ of British politics, UKIP practises that same old politics of envy and fear that have epitomised national politics for a generation, and of which voters are heartily sick.
The only difference between them all is where they seek to lay the blame for our perceived ills. While the Tories blame ‘benefits scroungers’ (while refusing to tackle tax-avoiding multinationals) and Labour heap scorn on the bankers (forgetting that their own party was responsible for freeing bankers to pursue the casino capitalism that wrought such havoc), UKIP wants us to blame the ‘hordes’ of immigrants overlooking the fact that a) our immigration levels are lower than many countries, including the USA and Australia, and b) immigrants contribute 37 per cent more to public finances than the cost of the services they use.
Voters are increasingly turned off by parties that seek only to blame while providing none of the answers, and are instead more interested in those with a constructive and positive message, one based on trusting people to do what they do best and inspiring collective action for the common good. There is much to be proud of in this country and in its people and I for one have greater faith in them than in the tired old self-interested party machines, whether they be coloured red, blue or purple.
Malvern Hills Green Party
THERE is a lot of interest in Hayslan Fields, in Pickersleigh Ward, because of the possibility of housing development and their fate should not be taken in isolation. The adjoining Oseman and Sling Lane Playing Fields are part of the equation. Barwood Developments who are seeking to develop Hayslan Fields now have a working agreement with the owners of Oseman Field. They pledge, if they are allowed to build on Hayslan, to retain the Oseman land as a ‘green lung’ for the Pickersleigh and Priory conurbation but readers will understand that, as the years pass, this land, like the rest, would be vulnerable to development. Developers always want to see a return on their investment, sooner or later. Also, for the first time, cars are legally passing along the bridleway through Sling Lane railway tunnel which opens out at the south-west corner of the Oseman Field and this could have a bearing on the field’s status in years to come.
As to Sling Lane Playing Fields, they are the only fields adjoining Pickersleigh and Priory Wards that are publicly owned but since their development the Football Foundation and Sport England have, between them, a £335,604.00 investment to protect and the fields are becoming ever more expensive to the district council. Who knows what will come to pass in future years. Hayslan Fields become ever more precious open space for the tens of thousands of households in Malvern’s Pickersleigh and Priory Wards.
AS MR Bocock has decided that executive committee members and the vice chair of council did not break any rules by sitting on the Standards Committee on June 3, can we expect to see that Councillor Melanie Baker, Councillor Barbara Williams, Councillor Paul Swinburn and Councillor Paul Cumming are still on that committee next time it sits?
AT A meeting of the Malvern Link Forum I was disappointed to hear that, despite many requests our elected district and county councillors, were unable to get an up to date version of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP). We rely on our elected councillors to keep us informed of developments before it’s too late. The public has a right to influence decisions, but can only do that with up to date factual information. We also need our councillors to interpret the planning process on our behalf.
When it comes to larger scale building on potential sites, such as those for Hayslan Fields and Lower Howsell Road, a number of questions occur to me:
Are the majority’s views outweighed by a few covert, influential and ‘in the know’ individuals?
Does knowing your way around a rather complex planning process give an unfair advantage?
Are proposals sustainable and will infrastructure cope, i.e. Worcester Road, the single carriageway Carrington Bridge, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, schools, drainage, sewerage?
Are proposals ‘joined up’ or is it a case of ad hoc building first with infrastructure second and then only if budgets permit?
Is the planning process transparent enough for the public to identify vested interest by those putting forward potential ‘windfall’ site development?
I would like to thank the organisers of the Malvern Link Forum for bringing some clarity to planning proposals to the residents of Malvern Link. Most importantly for making the effort to actually communicate to residents. As such I would like to make a plea to the permanent and elected officers of the county, district and town councils to take note of these questions and improve communication.