Rossendale Free Press - - Your Views -

THE pub­lic and press were once again ex­cluded by the Coun­cil from im­por­tant dis­cus­sions on the fu­ture of Rawten­stall cen­tre (‘£ 10m loan to fund town re­gen­er­a­tion’, De­cem­ber 21). From the many leaks sur­fac­ing it ap­pears that the heated de­bate was not in any way com­mer­cially sen­si­tive, it was the Labour group not want­ing the pub­lic to know what they are plan­ning.

It is now clear that de­spite the Leader of the Coun­cil, Coun­cil­lor Barnes’ ear­lier as­sur­ances that an “in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised ho­tel chain” was tied on to open an 80- bed ho­tel on the Val­ley Cen­tre Mark 2 site, such an op­tion has been air brushed out.

Not the first time she has got some­thing hor­ri­bly wrong. She now has to find some­thing to fill the space.

The cra­zi­est scheme yet has now come to light - they want the Town Cen­tre to be dom­i­nated by a pam­per­ing beauty Spa, twenty odd flats and a dozen or so shops.

Much of the ar­gu­ing at last week’s se­cret Coun­cil meet­ing cen­tred on the ma­jor is­sue of car park­ing. Coun­cil­lor Barnes, the Ex­ec­u­tive, and the Labour Group main­tain that ad­di­tional car park­ing is not nec­es­sary, as there is suf­fi­cient car park­ing al­ready avail­able. When they make state­ments like this, it be­comes ob­vi­ous that none of the Labour coun­cil­lors or se­nior of­fi­cers have ever tried to park in Rawten­stall Town Cen­tre dur­ing the day.

If a pri­vate in­di­vid­ual wanted to build flats or houses, like the Coun­cil in­tend to do in Rawten­stall Cen­tre, they would HAVE to pro­vide 1.5 park­ing spa­ces per unit. Yet this Coun­cil can build 20 plus flats with­out pro­vid­ing a sin­gle ad­di­tional park­ing space. Just where the thou­sands of cus­tomers they say will visit the Spa each month will be able to park is a mys­tery, as in the words of Coun­cil­lor Barnes, there is al­ready enough park­ing in the Town Cen­tre. Sim­i­larly, the shop work­ers and their cus­tomers of the dozen or so shops will not be get­ting any ad­di­tional park­ing ei­ther.

No doubt part of the Coun­cil want­ing to cause this out­rage over park­ing is part of the strat­egy to get peo­ple talk­ing about it, as it takes the pub­lic gaze away from their in­ten­tion to bor­row around 10 to 11 mil­lion pounds to fund all this, which will sad­dle Rossendale coun­cil tax pay­ers with debt and in­ter­est charges for decades to come. Michael Pickup Newchurch Road, Rawten­stall

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