Residents’ opinion on travellers’ site mean more

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle with Steve Lupton and residents  angry over plans to allow travellers who have set up camp on land in Harold Avenue to stay.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle with Steve Lupton and residents angry over plans to allow travellers who have set up camp on land in Harold Avenue to stay.

I read with much interest a letter headed from one of the newspaper’s regular contributors, K. Royle.

Mr Royle correctly noted my time as a councillor was indeed only 32 years after being elected in 1982. In that time, I have worked for the betterment of my ward, Coal Clough with Deerplay, and the town in general. In 2002, I was delighted to receive the honour of being elected Mayor and, in that time, managed to raise over £60,000 to buy an advanced scanner for the early detection of prostate cancer which has recently been replaced with a more advanced scanner that provides early detection for both prostate cancer but also ladies’ bladder and kidney cancer due to another fund-raising campaign of £60,000.

Mr Royle’s contributions to the letters’ page are, in the main, very negative to what I do as an MP, or if it suits him, as a councillor. Most readers would conclude that with such a track record of negative comments he would be able to list what he has done for the town over the past 30 years. My extensive inquiries have shown his contribution appears to be very little, if none at all. Too often people are constantly criticising yet appear to do nothing themselves.

Returning to his letter, it is correct that while I have been a member of the council, and for many years before, the town never had a need for a permanent travellers’ site.

Mr Royle may be able to tell me and readers a few things. Firstly, why do we need one now? Secondly, why the Labour-run council asked Salford University to come up with a need for one totally against the wishes of the vast majority of the residents of Burnley? Furthermore, how much council tax payers’ money has been spent on this report? Lastly, how many residents in the area under threat from these proposals has Mr Royle cared to consult. Very few, if any, I would suggest.

In conclusion, it is my view as the MP, who was appointed by the majority of the town, that there has never been a need and there isn’t one now for a travellers’ site. I was elected to represent the views of my constituents and intend to continue to do just that. Their opinion consequently takes precedent over those at Salford University. I would ask how many of the reports producers live in or anywhere near Burnley?

MP Gordon Birtwistle