I MUST reply to letters from members of the public is a New Year’s resolution I hope has been made by the chairman of Barrowford Parish Council John Pope, Pendle Planning Officer Keith Thompson and all 15 councillors who make up Pendle Council’s Nelson Area Committee.
I know that in the interests of safety, Pendle’s Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee strongly objects to all but essential roadside signage, so when I saw the two roundabouts in Scotland Road were being prepared for advertising signs, I wrote to Mr Pope expressing my deep concerns. Of a response came there none.
Delving deeper into the matter, I learned that permission for the signs to be erected had been given by Mr Thompson. My understanding of the situation is that before an application to erect signage can be approved, the site has to be thoroughly assessed for its suitability and any underlying safety concerns. As both the roundabouts in question not only carry an extremely high volume of traffic, but also that one of them is rated number three in the country for fraudulent accident claims, I wrote to Mr Thompson asking him to explain exactly how and why he had reached the decision that the sites were suitable. Again, no answer.
Although Mr Thompson may give his approval, it still has to be ratified by the Nelson Committee. I am told Pendle’s area committee system was set up to delegate powers down to a local level.
I may be being naive, but to me this means decisions are made by councillors who, by living and working in the area, are fully aware of its specific needs and problems. Imagine my dismay when I learned the Nelson Committee had merely rubber stamped the application on Mr Thompson’s say so. Have none of them ever driven down Scotland Road and seen how hazardous these roundabouts can be, I wondered.
I wrote to each councillor asking why they had decided not to discuss a matter of such significance; again there was no answer.
By the way, no claim can be made by any party that they did not get the letters for all were hand delivered to the town hall or council office, and I also indicated to members a joint response would suffice.
In response to those who try to justify the decision by claiming the council needs every penny it can get, let me repeat what I have said in a previous letter.
Not one penny of the eight to ten thousand pounds annual rent these advertisements bring will benefit Nelson. Indeed, little will find its way into the county council’s coffers when the company behind the signage has taken its cut.
So, Mr Thompson and the members of the Nelson Committee, once again, this time through the columns of this newspaper, I am asking what were the reasons why you granted permission for these distracting signs to be installed?