Here we go again.
I’m sure there must be a name for people who do blindly trundle on with their own plans while reassuring everyone that they are actually listening.
I’m not sure what that name really should be but lets just call them “the council” shall we.
The third meeting of the Crompton Moor User Group was highly charged to say the least.
Following the disastrously timed forestry work in the Whitesides plantation, I couldn’t help thinking it was a good job no one had brought a rope, because the mood in the hall felt like a lynch mob.
The main purpose of that meeting was to form a committee in order to make the user group more manageable to deal with. Despite a few electoral and constitutional shenanigans that would have done a banana republic proud, this was actually achieved and it looked like the way was finally clear to make some progress in this whole sorry affair.
Now at this point I should bring you up to date with the first CMUG committee meeting, but I’m not allowed to.
I know my candidate statement said “I stand for honesty, transparency and accountability” things I think are all too sadly missing in politics today, I did indeed say all those things and I did meant them too, so I cannot express how much it grieves me to say that I cannot tell you anything about the committee meeting, I’m not allowed to, and I’m not even allowed to tell you why I’m not allowed to.
What I can tell you is that if this preposterous situation is not resolved by the end of our next committee meeting, I shall be resigning my position with immediate effect. <<<< Update. >>>>
I can also tell you about the Habitat and Landscape “workshop” which appeared to go quite well. I must say that the “workshops” seem to be the first sensible thing that the council has done. It is a pity then that they failed to advertise them, and only put a notice up on the car park notice board a few hours before the first one started. That was done because I suggested that they didn’t seem to be taking them very seriously. How prophetic that turned out to be.
Remarkably, given the lack of publicity, a few people did actually turn out to listen to a short talk and, after a considerable amount of faffing about, a few pictures projected on a screen in full sunlight. I know technology isn’t everyone’s forte but it’s really much better not to use visual aids if you can’t use them properly.
Eventually we got to the point where we could actually have a say
A few people raised concerns over the poor state that Whitesides plantation had been left in. At this point an interesting comment was made by Laura that there would need to be “further work” done in the plantation to complete the job. On the whole most people, although still angry about it, are resigned to the fact that you just can’t mend an egg once it has been smashed.
Never the less, by the end of the evening I thought some very practical and useful suggestions had come forward and most people left with the impression that they were finally being listened to, which lasted right up until the publication of the latest article in the Oldham Chronicle on the following Monday.
What I have difficulty working out, is whether this sort of article is deliberately intended to enflame the situation or whether it’s just accidental. Either way it is typical of the mismanagement of communications that has turned Crompton Moor into a battleground lately.
The general feeling amongst people I talk to, and that is not just dog walkers, is that we have been forced to fight an uphill battle just to be heard.
So far we have done this by sticking within the law and jumping through all the council’s arbitrary hoops, even when they change the rules halfway through an election procedure, that appeared to be designed to eliminate opposition in the first place.
On top of all that we are routinely abused, spat at, and even assaulted while going about our lawful business on the moor, which includes clearing up litter left by other users, which the council rarely does.
Meanwhile the bike riders continue to break the law by building tracks, vandalising walls, cutting down trees and illegally riding on footpaths, in response to this, the council promises them a shiny new cycle park while sidelining us and calling us troublemakers in the press. Does anybody still wonder why we are getting so angry?
Once again in this article the dog walkers were singled out as the only dissenters. Once again the plan being put forward is exactly the same as the “proposals” presented to us last November. The Whitesides debacle was simply dismissed with the statement that “no long term harm was done.” and once again we are left with the impression that this whole “consultation process” is just a sham and we are not being listened to at all.
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