Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Gambling with Our Future

More from the Advertiser

UTTOXETER needs to hold out for the best deal possible for the Cattle Market site, says the town's Mayor Malcolm Barrett.
However, Uttoxeter’s Labour MP Janet Dean and East Staffordshire Borough Council Labour group leader Julian Mott have slammed the delay, claiming it is a waste of tax payers’ money.
The decision by the borough council to pull out of the deal with developers Taylor Woodrow has sparked strong reactions from Independent Councillor Barrett, who had not officially been told of the set-back until The Advertiser informed him yesterday.
He praised the borough council for refusing to be 'bullied' by Taylor Woodrow, and said all parties now need to work together to find the best solution for Uttoxeter.
He said: "I am aware of a press release from ESBC which basically implies that during the past few months Taylor Woodrow has been trying to move the goal posts.
"Based on this, I can only agree with Councillor Fox’s statement that we should not be bullied into accepting a scheme which was not agreed, especially if this is to the detriment of Uttoxeter.
"I would say that the most important thing that we must do now is to keep up momentum in respect of the regeneration of the old cattle market site.
"We must all work together for the future of our town."
Mrs Dean told The Advertiser: "I said that this was a gamble when the council first announced the purchase of the Cattle Market, and the question now is that is this gamble going to cost the tax payers of East Staffordshire?
"While it is right that the local authority should not bow to pressure from Taylor Woodrow, I am surprised that it should have reached this stage without a legal agreement.
"Also, if the council was aware that the development would not go ahead this week, I am surprised that it did not try to agree the continuation of the Cattle Market."
She said that she hoped the borough council would now ensure that the public’s concerns over parking in the town were addressed in future plans.
Mr Mott said: "Many times we have been assured that the purchase of Uttoxeter Cattle Market would have 'zero impact' on the council tax payers, and were promised several times by Councillor Fox that work would begin on November 1.
"Now the deal has fallen through, the council is already paying interest on the cost of purchase.
"The fact that this deal has fallen through gives the council the opportunity to reconsider its position on lack of affordable housing and the loss of car parking, and come up with plans that meet the aspirations of local people."

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