Worksop Guardian: 16 January 2015

Must be elections coming up as I have picked up a rumour  being circulated outside Sainsbury by someone that there are plans to build Europe’s largest incinerator in Worksop and that I have been involved in this. Total rubbish. I usually ignore idle gossip but this time I felt that given the seriousness of the allegations I should set the record straight.

There are no planning applications to build an incinerator in Worksop currently being processed. A plan was scoped out over a year ago but has not yet been submitted for any decision.

If any application is put in then I will be opposing it. Incinerators in towns like this would never be acceptable. Even in rural Elkesley I advised local people, objected to and spoke against an incinerator that was proposed and it was stopped. If there is ever a planning application in Bassetlaw then I will be opposing it and neither I nor any other local councillor has had any involvement in proposing, supporting or assisting any incinerator. I trust that this puts the record straight.

Last week Tesco finally announced that they would not be building their new store on the Carlton Road site, something that local residents have readily welcomed. I backed their campaign against the original application several years ago and am glad to see that after all this time they will not have their privacy intruded upon by a supermarket car park. I am tempted to say to them: told you so. It was always the wrong site for a supermarket of this size.

I suspect that Tesco will now propose housing for the land, which they own - so far they have not revealed their hand to anyone and we will have to watch this space. I remain concerned that levels have been altered on the land so that in some places it overlooks local houses and we also lost some beautiful trees on the North Notts College site so I will be taking a strong interest in any future planning applications.

This ability to build houses anywhere remains an absurd snub to local democracy. MPs from all parties keep raising the issue as Eric Pickles, Government Minister but he has repeatedly over-ruled local councils and public opinion to force through unpopular housing. Every attempt to force a vote on this has been thwarted. So much for localism. In my view, each community should have the final say on how many houses are built and where they should go, not a Government Minister from Essex who has no knowledge whatsoever about our area.

I hosted 150 victims of child abuse at Westminster this week - bringing together for the first time in one place all the groups campaigning on this issue. Without question this scandal is being ducked by a failure to hold public inquiries so that the truth can come out and those responsible held to account. In Nottinghamshire we need to see progress on our own County and City public inquiry, including into allegations of files being destroyed in the past. I am pleased to see some positive results recently from police and Social workers dealing with those coming forward and I welcome the professionalism which is emerging. I do not intend to drop the campaign on national child abuse and I am sure you would be horrified if I did.


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