Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Eddisbury Square - the latest

I received an email from a director of the property agents handing Eddisbury Square.  For unknown reasons they are particularly sensitive about their correspondence being published and have sought to deny me the right to publish what they have sent to me.

Of course they cannot prevent me from publishing what I have sent them.  

I have redacted their various names in my reply from this email and I have not published an entire section which debates their claim to anonymity. Again their claim to anonymity in this regard strikes me as surprising and needlessly clandestine. It does, however, reinforce me in my view that they are seeking to isolate themselves from local discussions, rather than embracing them.

Just imagine if the agents, with the owners and tenants, had organised an events day for the people of Frodsham.  They could have celebrated the Square, really pushed the businesses that are located there to increase awareness and trade. They could have indicated what the plans for the future are, how it contributes to Frodsham and what they would want from the wide community and the councils. As part of that process they could have raised the issue of car parking and the need to ensure that it is managed effectively.  They could have debated the restrictions and penalties to be enforced and the signage that would be posted.

In this Utopia - everyone benefits.  I would have thought agents working with the grain and seeking to maximise value for their owners would have spotted this collaborative approach as the way forward in this day and age...

This is an issue I am continuing to debate with them.

Dear Mr X

Thank you for your email.  I will seek to address the points you make in the email.  I would appreciate it if you, or your colleague Mr Y, would respond to the letter I wrote to him fully too.
Secondly - the issue of Eddisbury Square - Mr X, whether it is with you, or indeed with Mr Y, Cllr Riley and I would like to have a discussion with you about the Square, its car parking and its contribution to what I'm sure we all hope is the continued vitality and viability of the retail centre of Frodsham.  I note, that so far, you have not responded to this now repeated request.  Eddisbury Square is not an 'isolated island' in Frodsham - it is part of a wider whole.  

Thirdly I note your interesting interpretation of what you think should or should not be part of my 'elected office.'  I do see a key part of my role in 'joining the various dots' in the town and seeking both to maximise the common good and to minimise unnecessary and unintended consequences.  If you had spoken to Cllr Riley and me before introducing the parking restrictions in the Square we would no doubt have sought to persuade you to do it in a way that contributed to the town, that would have minimised the risk of public anxiety and distress and hopefully would have achieved the benefits that you seek.  It is as much the way in which you have gone about your task that has and is causing anxiety as well as what you have done.  If that public anxiety can be lessened it is likely that everyone can benefit.  It is in everyone's interest to work with the grain - not across it.

There are anecdotal tales of an elderly driver being penalised for parking in the Square when he was seeking to pick up a prescription.  It is inevitable that the local residents will raise these issues with their elected councillors - and you should expect that we will reflect those concerns to you - and show our community that we have done so.

It is clear from your correspondence that you are not particularly familiar with Frodsham.  Discussions with local councillors could help you with this lack of local knowledge, including the tangible support provided to the local business community by the councils, and how to communicate with the community.  You should note that other than the usual smattering of double yellow lines there are no car parking restrictions in Frodsham, nor are there any public car parking charges.  It is in that context that significant distress and anxiety is caused when a private provider institutes parking enforcement more typical of what one might see in a major conurbation such as Manchester.   

Incidentally I find your desire to keep your correspondence with me in someway 'secret' to be incompatible with me being an elected Councillor and my needs and desire to be seen as open and transparent with the community I represent.   We are discussing the community having access to Eddisbury Square and car parking associated with it.  I struggle to see why such correspondence should be kept secret.  To my mind there is a profound democratic need for this correspondence to be accessible to all.


Andrew W Dawson