I am pleased that some of Stamford’s green spaces have been safeguarded by the generosity of Mr Dawson, but such philanthropic gestures are finite.
Whilst the current dispute has been resolved, other green areas are facing a similar threat. I find it unbelievable as to how this situation has come about. We have a council and planning department which should be held to account. These spaces were part of the planning application and for many years the council has been maintaining them, under the misapprehension that they had adopted them from the builder. I assume the builder did not know that they had ownership of them until recently, when the council found a way to reduce its financial responsibilities by billing the builders for maintenance of the greens. The builders appear to have called the council’s bluff by asking for planning permission to build on the land – thus turning a liability into an asset. Permission was refused, so the builder decided to rid themselves of the problem by auctioning off the lots. Now we face the prospect of piecemeal ownership with all the ensuing problems. Surely it would make sense for the remaining areas to be gifted to the council, as the resulting economies of scale would both reduce the maintenance costs and ensure a common standard of upkeep? The main objection given to this proposal is that it would add to the council’s future costs necessitating an increase in council tax, which would put them at risk of losing central government funding. Could the maintenance be carried out under a local precept, which does not count as part of the council tax? Why do we pay our taxes, if our elected officials do not act to defend our rights; improve our wellbeing; safeguard our future and protect our open green spaces? Too much today is driven by short-termism and greed.
C V Killgren
Cedar Road, Stamford