Ian Tweedie’s comments on the generous donation made to local Tories by Libra Textiles – parent company of Boundary Mill, prospective developer of the Greenfield Road Garden Centre – is timely.
Since this information was aired the new project has been voted through Colne and District Council with little outright dissent.
Donations from future beneficiaries to those well-placed to smooth their procedural path create a conflict of interest which should be taken very seriously.
Council regulations state “members must declare pecuniary interest” and “may not partake in any discussion of the matter” and must “leave the room where the meeting is held”.
At the meeting of April 10th this did not happen and therefore the matter should be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman before the proposed project goes any further.
However, a garden centre is not, in itself, an unpleasing prospect; we all love gardens, don’t we?
Most of us enjoy wandering down flower-stacked aisles and avenues of potted trees and dreaming our home-plots and backyards into mini Gardens of Eden.
But dreams, like profits and even jobs, come at a price and that price must not be paid in wrecked habitat and threatened wildlife.
Gardening shouldn’t cost the earth!
A modified development with greater respect for nature (especially regarding the protection of mature trees) and incorporating a small educational unit would be far more acceptable, appropriate and attractive.
And, given transparent openness in all dealings between the management and local traders, environmentalists, education projects and residents, the scheme could become a positive force for good for the whole community rather than just a money-spinner for those at the top.
Noyna Street, Colne