Fast-food as soon as you step off the train

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

I re­call some years ago when the Hal­letts Garage site on the cor­ner of Sta­tion Road West and St Dun­stan’s Street was be­ing de­vel­oped that I vis­ited the site and was shown the ar­chae­ol­ogy; a large num­ber of Ro­man buri­als were re­moved from that site at con­sid­er­able ex­pense.

That area of the city seems to have been an in­dus­trial sub­urb dur­ing Ro­man times and in line with their nor­mal prac­tice to carry out buri­als out­side the city walls and along­side roads it is to be an­tic­i­pated that there may be many more buri­als close to the old Hal­letts site, un­less they have been re­moved. As­sum­ing the worst, devel­op­ment of a multi-storey car park on the council car park site will not be cheap.

I floated the idea when I was at the council that we should keep the frontage trees and re­strict the new devel­op­ment to the ex­ist­ing hard sur­faced area with a frontage of sin­gle-as­pect hous­ing or flats fac­ing Sta­tion Road West it­self and con­ceal­ing the multi-level car park be­hind them, as was done years ago at the Cas­tle Street multi-storey car park.

Of course we could do bet­ter ar­chi­tec­ture than that, I would sug­gest tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the Sta­tion Road West re­de­vel­op­ment – but then I would, wouldn’t I, hav­ing been closely in­volved with it?

It was, how­ever, held up in a gov­ern­ment case study as an ex­em­plar of “how to do it” in its time.

Get­ting the ar­chi­tec­ture right is only part of the so­lu­tion how­ever, the other is get­ting the use right and I am con­cerned about the sug­ges­tion that the frontage to Sta­tion Road West should be given over to shops – that is just too un­likely to hap­pen. The size and depth of the shops will have to be lim­ited if the car park is not to be re­duced: That and the fact that the site is “off-pitch” means that “high street” names will not be in­ter­ested. The cost of the devel­op­ment will mean that small traders will not be able to af­ford the rents, even if they wanted to trade there, and that will leave only one al­ter­na­tive.

Af­ter all, if you’ve just got off the train you’ll want to pick up a Mcdon­ald’s or KFC take­away on the way home. How easy will that be!

And think what a won­der­ful en­trance to the city that will be for vis­i­tors, or al­ter­na­tively think of the rental in­come the city council would be able to get from a street of fast-food take-aways just out­side the sta­tion. Bob Brit­nell Or­chard Close, Can­ter­bury were in­vited to a meet­ing on April 27.

The sub­ject line was “An in­vi­ta­tion to se­lect Julian Bra­zier as our Par­lia­men­tary can­di­date”.

The as­so­ci­a­tion chair­man sent out a sep­a­rate email headed “Julian Bra­zier needs YOUR help” which de­scribed the meet­ing as: “a re­ally im­por­tant meet­ing to show our sup­port both for Julian and for Theresa May’s bold step in call­ing this snap Gen­eral Elec­tion.”

At the meet­ing, Sir Julian spoke but no ques­tions were al­lowed and only about 20 of those present were in­vited to cast a se­cret bal­lot.

Although some votes were cast against se­lect­ing Sir Julian, more voted in favour and those present were then in­vited to en­dorse this de­ci­sion.

If ques­tions had been al­lowed, per­haps those present would have re­alised that Sir Julian had al­ready se­cured the en­thu­si­as­tic public back­ing of Ukip and been con­cerned at the con­tam­i­na­tion of the Con­ser­va­tive brand.

As it was, the as­so­ci­a­tion chair suc­ceeded in deny­ing an open se­lec­tion process. The rest, as they say, is his­tory. It seems to me to­tally un­sat­is­fac­tory that the se­lec­tion of an in­di­vid­ual who may have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of rep­re­sent­ing ev­ery­one in this city should be in the hands of small, self-se­lected group who have bought their right to vote by pay­ing a fee to a po­lit­i­cal party. It need not be thus. When the Con­ser­va­tive can­di­dacy for Rochester and Strood be­came va­cant af­ter Mark Reck­less de­fected to Ukip on 27 Septem­ber 2014, the Con­ser­va­tive Party or­gan­ised an open pri­mary.

Ev­ery­one on the elec­toral roll was asked to choose be­tween two Con­ser­va­tive as­pi­rants.

Some 5,688 peo­ple voted in the pri­mary – one in eight of those who voted in the ac­tual by-elec­tion and over a third of those who cast their votes for the

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