No regards for neighbours' rights

PUBLISHED: 16:31 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:14 26 October 2009

SIR – Regarding the sale of land for a pumping station. Friends drew my attention to this flagrant disregard of human rights and complete communication cockup (a) on behalf of the local council in the way the sale of The Green was handled, and (b) the u

SIR - Regarding the sale of land for a pumping station.

Friends drew my attention to this flagrant disregard of human rights and complete communication cockup (a) on behalf of the local council in the way the sale of 'The Green' was handled, and (b) the utility company, vis-a-vis the people in properties adjacent to the pumping station to be built in its place.

It's the people in this (so far) quiet neighbourhood who will have to bear the environmental impacts (noise, vibration and visual impacts) of this development and suffer a substantial loss in the commercial value of their properties.

As a recent graduate of environment and heritage studies I know that, as a rule, environmental impact assessments are required before any such development goes ahead, especially if it's to take place in a conservation area.

In this case, the utility company concerned seems to consider its exemption from planning requirements as a licence to ride roughshod over the human rights of local residents, and the council seems to be able to interfere with conservation designations without bothering about public consultations.

At the very least, I consider this cockup a classic example of how a failure to communicate can ruin a company's public image.

Three Valleys Water's laudable intention to improve the public water supply seems to have turned into a PR disaster for the company, which ought to worry its shareholders more than the deplorable triumph its movers and shakers must have felt when presenting WGC residents with this fait accompli.

Not to inform people in adjacent properties until after preparing the ground for construction work, must surely rank as one of the worst possible infringements of best business practice among utility companies ever.

There is no doubt that if utility companies get away with this kind of approach in WGC, there is clearly a risk that it can happen anywhere in Britain - from John O'Groats to Land's End.

I think we'd all be well advised to keep a close eye on the sale of publicly owned land anywhere in the UK because it seems that any impacts on the public resulting from its sale can be totally ignored.

B Geddes,

Wick,

Caithness.


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