Parking in The Knapp. Great Bedwyn

Written by Philip Blunt on .


You may be interested to hear that the debates surrounding car parking in The Knapp area of Great Bedwyn have taken a somewhat sinister turn!

Great Bedwyn Parish Council have voted in favour of categorising Jan Thornton and the Knapp Tenants’ Association as “vexatious”, meaning, in effect, that all communication from them will be ignored.

Having attended several parish council meetings in the last few months, I can report that Jan has conducted herself calmly, politely, and with dignity, despite facing less than professional behaviour from some of the parish council members themselves.

I have heard a number of people leap to the council’s defence and tell us that they’re all volunteers, giving of their time freely – indeed this is to be commended, but volunteers or not, if they can’t do the job, they shouldn’t be in office. This grubby little proposal smacks of an organisation silencing someone who is making life awkward for them - a shame on the council members behind this.

Great Bedwyn Parish News has said it will not be publishing anything regarding the Knapp parking situation other than that which appears in the Parish Council minutes.  The editorial committee contain members from the Parish Council, indeed the editor wrote a piece in one of the recent “Advertiser” free-sheets indicating his opposition to any of the proposed changes.

Another body in staunch opposition to any of the proposed changes is the Bedwyn Railway Passenger Group whose "leader", Steve Smith, wrote an email to the chairman and secretary of the Parish Council suggesting:

“can I suggest we ask Andrew (Hutchison - editor of the Parish News) to maintain the 'this matter is closed' stance re: all correspondence relating to parking at The Knapp. This way you can report it factually in the minutes and we can all avoid getting into a discussion with Jan relating to inaccuracies in her letter.”

The combined effect of all this is that the Parish Council, The Parish News and The Bedwyn Railway Passenger Group are doing their best to silence Jan and her campaign to introduce changes to permitted parking in The Knapp, an area of Great Bedwyn housing the elderly and vulnerable which is next to Bedwyn railway station, and thus attracts a great many cars during the working day, making life very difficult for care workers, emergency vehicles and the residents themselves.

Regardless of where anyone stands on this debate, this collusion and stifling of any opposition is the sort of thing I would expect to see in China or North Korea, not a true blue tory heartland like the constituency in which we live!

Where's democracy and the right to free speech when we need it?

Yours faithfully

Philip Blunt
Great Bedwyn