I've got a confession to make, I watched the latest episode from the reincarnation of the X-Files last night. It would have been in the summer of 2015 that I heard that after a twenty-plus year absence Mulder and Scully would be returning to our screens. Back in the 1990's it was still the age of the VCR, and I would set the Hitachi to record at half speed to squeeze as much onto that tape as I could. Excitement would however often become angst as when Mulder and Scully where about to solve their latest case the machine would eject the tape. The 180 minute tape, even though the machine was recording at half speed, was full. That was on a reasonable day. If it happened to be a bad day then the machine would chew up the tape and spit it out like a half-eaten Smartie. Did anyone out there actually experience "re-record not fade away"?! How easy we now have it now with our Sky+, Virgin and PVR's.
Although I was expecting great things from the new series of the X-Files, it must be said that I am somewhat underwhelmed. Perhaps the fact that modern technology allows me to watch the show to it's conclusion puts a damper on things. In the absence of spat out tapes not much is left to the imagination. That's progress though.
Anyhow, we digress. I received an email from Kirklees Council yesterday in response to some information that I had requested from them a few weeks ago. My request was not for anything that I believed to be unduly onerous. The supporting narrative to site H2089 in the Kirklees Council document "Draft Local Plan Allocations and Designations" makes reference to a number of supporting documents including a drainage plan, a noise assessment, a contaminated land assessment, and Dewsbury Riverside Masterplan. Judging by the council's response I think there is case to canvass for a new show called the "K-Files". There'll be plenty of "Top Secret" stuff in there, plus a blend of mystery and suspense as there will be no logic and the conclusion in the final 10 minutes will go against all of the evidence.
To assist in making an informed decision on the draft Local Plan it was believed that a review and understanding of these documents would provide a good understanding of the council's plans for Sands Lane and Lady Wood. There must be something within these supporting documents that has guided the council to their proposal to build 4,000 houses on the Greenbelt around Sands Lane and Lady Wood, right? Well, ehhh, wrong. In respect of site H2089 the drainage plan, the noise assessment and contaminated land assessment do not yet exist according to my email from Kirklees Council. No, instead the reference to these reports included in the document "Draft Local Plan Allocations and Designations" is just to let us know that they are still to be done. Well pardon my assumption, but surely that is somewhat posterior about face, and they should have been completed before including site H2089 within the draft plan. Without the full facts how can one be expected to make an informed judgement as to the viability of such a large development.
But it gets better! Well that alone would not make for a great episode of the all new "K(irklees)-Files". You will recall that I also requested a copy of the Dewsbury Riverside Masterplan. This is the key document that is referred to within the draft Local Plan, and in particular forms the backbone of the plans for site H2089 Sands Lane and Lady Wood. The document has been prepared with the assistance of various stakeholders including the council and developers. Well sorry Kirklees Council but I've got news for you. The council's primary purpose is to act in the best interests of it's residents. That's me, and if you've got this far, you too! I'm a stakeholder but I have not been asked to contribute to the council's grandiose plans for what they refer to as Dewsbury Riverside.
Anyhow, the council have kindly confirmed to me that the Dewsbury Riverside Masterplan (although they have pointed out to me in their email the said document is in fact referred to as "Dewsbury Riverside Vision"-how original, which marketing company earned a few shekels for that one). Credit to the council, they have taken the time to attach a 5 page letter explaining why they will not disclose the Masterplan to me. To summarise, and I am not paraphrasing, they have stated that "it would not be in the public interest" and non-disclosure "..outweighs the benefits which might arise from the greater openness and transparency...".
Kirklees Council, you are hereby awarded nil points for openness and public engagement. Shame on you, but all the best with the "K-Files".