BSCF letter countering criticism of BSCF's stand on Causeway proposals

The Editor
Herts & Essex Observer
10 March 2014

The Editor, Herts & Essex Observer

I feel I must respond to Graham Nickson’s attack on the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF had no right to delay development, Observer, March 6).

Why does Mr Nickson consider that in the 21st century, the only way that local residents of Bishop's Stortford can speak on current issues is through their local council? The councillors are mostly elected on a party political basis and only every few years. Most of the councillors I know do a good job but let’s not forget that one of our Bishop’s Stortford councillors lives in Newark.

The Civic Federation is constantly in touch with residents of the town through its members and especially through its member residents associations. We only take action on issues where there is a clear majority supporting a particular view. This has been the case for the 'Superschool' issue (which we won) and the Councillor Tindale issue (which we lost). It is very clear that we are in a good position to represent the residents on these matters as they arise.

We would prefer politicians such as Mr Nickson to work alongside BSCF in attempting to improve the town rather than sniping from the sidelines. A good example is the draft Neighbourhood Plan for Silverleys and The Meads, where representatives from BSCF and the relevant residents associations have worked with councillors to map out the future for this area within the town. BSCF is not against development per se but seeks to reflect the vast majority of residents in wanting development to match the infrastructure of the town.

Perhaps Mr Nickson would like to come to one of our meetings to discuss this further?

Yours sincerely,

Rob Francis
Treasurer, Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation

Letter from Graham Nickson criticising the BSCF for its opposition to the Causeway proposals

This letter was published in the Herts & Essex Observer on 6 March 2014

For once I agree with Cllr Michael Tindale when he says that the opposition of Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation to the proposed Causeway development was wrong, undemocratic and damaging (Federation under fire for court "folly", Observer, Feb 27).

What right does the civic federation, an unelected pressure group with no electoral mandate, have to cause such a costly delay?

Democracy may not be perfect, and certainly there are questions in East Herts, but it is the best system we have for making planning decisions concerning the public space.

Councillors on East Herts District Council have the democratic mandate to make decisions. If voters don't agree then the councillors can be voted out at the next election.

If the civic federation would like to change things then it should take part in the democratic process and seek to be part of the council.

If Bishop's Stortford is to succeed, it needs to grow and develop. Does the civic federation want to turn Bishop's Stortford into a ghost town with the loss of businesses and jobs?

Graham Nickson
Parliamentary spokesperson,
Hertford and Storford Constituency Labour Party