I WOULD be grateful if, through your columns, I could reply to some of the points made in last week's edition.
It is always a risk that, in making a statement, one is quoted "out of context" . Yes, the people of Street do not want this hostel; even more so, we do not want the need. But it is there.
Many young people through no fault of their own, find their lives have gone sour. No place to call home, no family they can turn to for understanding, help and guidance, no place they can call their own. Yes, the people of Street don't want this hostel but even more so, they do not want the need. But it is there.
We can look the other way of course, not make a provision for these people, but I can think of nothing more likely to promote and intensify bad behaviour, than the feeling of hopelessness and rejection. If that sounds as though I am taking the moral high ground it is not intentional. I feel a duty, as a representative of the residents of my ward, and that is all the residents, not just those who voted for me, not just the well-heeled, but in particular those mostly in need; to address their problems.
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Provision of this hostel will do much to address anti-social behaviour. It will not eradicate it. But in the long term, I believe it to be the right thing to do. Failure to do so, can only be counter productive.
The view has been expressed that the council should build it elsewhere. But council is not the builder, not the applicant, and has no powers to tell people where they have got to live. And heaven help us should they ever get such powers. It is correct that at the Planning Board, only the chairman and I voted in favour of the development. There were no sound planning reasons otherwise.
Those speakers against, claimed the building to be in the wrong place. But as the planning inspector observed, viewed against Blue Stone Court, the shops, Whites Garage and the high street scene, this was not the case. Of course the main objection was not the building, but the use to which it would be put, with fears of anti-social behaviour loudly proclaimed. But that is a police issue not a planning issue.
Yes, there will always be those against a development. It is right they should have the opportunity to make their views known, and where appropriate, to achieve rejection of an application. That is how the democratic system works.
There are, of course, those who think decisions are arrived at on the subjective views of councillors. They are not. They are about complying with regulations and the law. Law made for the benefit of the community as a whole. Perhaps it is worth noting, planning is the most contentious issue before local councils.
Mr Parsons asks a number of questions which, being commercially sensitive, are probably best not answered in the public domain. They are certainly worthy of a better answer than I can give. I would therefore advise him to exercise his democratic right to use the Freedom of Information Act.
In closing may I just say Street is a wonderful place to live. We have so much to be grateful for. Give this hostel and YMCA a chance.