Why we are against town hall revamp

Written by Andrew Unwin on .


I refer to the tendentious article written by Gerald Isaaman and entitled “Meet the mystery man who drops unsigned leaflets through your door” . This was published on  December 5 and contains quotes and unwarranted opprobrium from Sara Holden and Andrew Ross. (Editor's Note: Sarah Holden does NOT appear in the report, as stated above. She has written her own independent letter to Marlborough News Online.)

I trust you will let me use your columns to clarify some matters:

1. The leaflets were signed “Marlborough Concerned Citizens (MCC)” and this group is well known (or should be) to all town councillors, since we (and I am proud to be a member) have been engaging with the council for over six months now, starting with a letter to the Mayor on May 16. This was signed by myself with around 16 other co-signatories, as acknowledged by the Mayor with his reply of late June.

2. You quoted Andrew Ross as having confronted “Steve Pascall”.  Is this the same Andrew Ross who met with Steve and myself and a number of other members of MCC on 18th October to discuss these very matters? If so, he was and is fully aware of who we are and that we are merely exercising our democratic right to gain information on, and  oppose where appropriate, what we see as a highly inappropriate refurbishment proposal, which will put our children and grandchildren in debt  for the next 50 years.

3. And is he a member of the same town council, who all received a letter signed by me on behalf of our group, dated November 23 and which spelt out in very clear and undemagogic language our reasons for opposing the plans as laid out by the town council. May I note, at the same time, that MNOL has never ventured to take the trouble to discover why many people are opposed to these proposals (viz my previous letters of 3 and 13 July).  Sara Holden, who is again widely quoted in your article (See Editor's Note, above), is however fully aware of this, since, at her request, I forwarded to her (over a week ago) a copy of my  letter to the councillors.

4. With hindsight it would have been a good idea to have given an address or contact number for MCC, if for no other reason than this issue seems to be distracting attention (including that of MNOL) from the substantial issues facing the town. We are sorry for this, but are still motivated by a common sense of purpose which is based on the conviction that these proposals contain no vision as to the real needs of the citizens of Marlborough, and that a loan of a million pounds, however obtained, is a lot to pay for a few multi-purpose rooms (with no purpose identified), a Mayor’s parlour, an outside lift and some toilets.

5. Of course we wish our town hall to be a fitting building for our town, but let’s now have a real and open debate as to the best uses for it, with proper costings, financial due diligence and a detailed feasibility study.  We could start with a real need – for a Tourist Information Centre!

Andrew Unwin

PS: I am at present down under in Sydney for Christmas but the reach of your organ is remarkable!