Why is there a bunker mentality at the council over Pavilion plans?

First published in News

Sadly, Coun Nigel Reed destroys his own argument about sticking only to the facts in his In My View, letter This Pavilion view is flawed' (Echo, November 12).

There are, by my count, at least 13 opinions sprinkled throughout his piece couched in phrases like "not capitulation", "would be welcome", "modern and attractive facility", "excellent", "equally good news", "can hardly be described as desecration" and so on.

The Echo feature is described as "a reader's personal opinion", so if Coun Reed says he can't express an opinion without compromising his eligibility to be involved in the planning decision, whose words are we really reading?

To me, this sounds like the voice of council officers finally owning up to railroading the town into an expanded 350 flats, eight storeys high development on the pier in spite of councillors having earlier voted to reduce it.

The hapless Coun Reed becomes the messenger boy. How much further does he have to go, to debar himself from voting?

Even the "facts" are economical with the truth. In the paragraph about consulting the public, the article fails to mention that when the public were shown the master plan, at least 75 per cent by some counts, or 80 per cent by others, voted against it.

While this message is starting to get through to some councillors, it seems that the bunker mentality prevailing among the officers still insists that we Weymouth residents have to accept whatever the developer proposes "to make the development viable".

The idea that the only way to improve the pier is to cave in to a property developer is untrue. There are other options.

Speaking in Parliament recently, Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered new assistance to deprived coastal towns such as Weymouth.

He said: We must do more for our coastal towns over the next few years. We must make them more attractive for tourism and we must aid their economic regeneration. Regional development agencies and local government will be given the resources that are needed so that we can regenerate, where it is necessary, the coastal towns that can serve our economy by being great tourist attractions as well as lovely places to live'.

Handing over the pier to a developer for 200 years is not the only way to obtain funds for the borough.

Members of the council are now belatedly coming to realise that if they get it wrong they will irrevocably alter the character of Weymouth Bay for the worse It will destroy the sea views for which it is renowned; jeopardise the future of the Blue Flag beach and almost certainly create a spiralling tax burden for future generations.

The time has come to stop digging this hole and pull the plug (to mix my metaphors).

Robert Veale, Belle Vue Road, Weymouth.

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