The Co-operative Group withdraw from local meeting about their Proposed “Eco” Town Pennbury in Leicestershire

Students at Oadby Beauchamp College will discuss the proposed “eco” town, Pennbury in Leicestershire, on 12 December.  Present will be Edward Garnier QC MP, David Parsons Leader Leicestershire County Council, Patrick Kitterick Leicester City Councillor, Kevin Feltham Leicestershire County Councillor for Great Glen, Simon Galton County Councillor for Thurnby, Bushby and Houghton and Andrew Reeves of Leicester Transition. Absent will be the Co-operative Group.

The Co-operative Group threatened to withdraw from a local meeting chaired by MP Keith Vaz in Evington because the Co-operative Group felt the audience might be negative. If the Co-operative Group didn’t attend, the meeting would have been cancelled. At it was, Evington residents got chance to discuss issues including transport and employment in Pennbury.

Transport has been discussed elsewhere. The Co-operative Group confirmed they would not be funding the majority of the debated tram costs. They also confirmed the tram would not be provided from the start and would probably not be available for 20 years.

The Co-operative Group reckon (reckon because they didn’t produce any studies or figure in support of their assertion) it would also take 20 years to create 14,000 jobs within Pennbury (and hence cut down travel outside Pennbury particularly at peak times). One of the best employment areas in Leicestershire is Fosse Park which creates 300 jobs per year, ie 6,000 jobs after 20 years. The Co-operative’s reckoning is incredibly optimistic.

At the end of the night 95% were against Pennbury. Only 3 people voted for and one of those was a Labour City Councillor.

So let’s look at the village polls again:-

Evington village meeting 95% said No;

Thurnby and Bushby village poll 98.8% said No;

Scraptoft village poll 98.88% said No;

Illston on the Hill village poll 100% said No;

King’s Norton village poll 96% said No.

A poll will be held in Great Glen in January.

No wonder the Co-operative Group are too scared to attend meetings, even one organised by a bunch of students too young to vote. But the failure is all theirs. Right from the start they failed to engage the local communities, failed to understand the impact their proposal would have, failed to provide credible transport and employment plans and failed to provide any good reason for Pennbury to go ahead. It should fail.

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