I really feel sorry for those 'making up the numbers' City Councillors. You know the ones I mean, don't have a cabinet portfolio and so are largely redundant until the next full council vote is called. Its perhaps not surprising that they are often forced to go and talk bollocks in order to get any attention in the media.
So here's Cllr Ian Malcolm in the Evening Post. He's saying that the proposed development of 5,500 homes by Barratt near Clifton should NOT include any shops.
Lets just hear that again, Councillor Malcolm doesn't want shops to be included in a rather huge new residential development.
So whats his reasoning? Cllr Malcolm thinks that new shops may make existing shops in Clifton go out of business. Cllr Malcolm is one of Clifton South's representatives. Now the development is actually planned in Rushcliffe Borough Council which we'll have a look at in a minute.
Now Clifton's a big place, around 22,000 residents as far as I know. I used to work there some years ago, coincidently in an organisation that had Cllr Malcolm on its management committee (I seem to remember him having a thing about wearing what looked to me like those 70s safari suits, kind of like those that comedian Bob Downes wears). I don't remember it being overburdened with shops and a bit of a scout round the web seems to identify 3 supermarkets in the area (although none of the big names), with a few smaller shops about the place, mainly on Southchurch Drive. It does have reasonable bus links to the City and one of the new tram routes is proposed to go that way which Cllr Malcolm seems quite keen on from the EP article.
So, lets recap. Cllr Malcolm is unhappy about new shops being built (in Rushcliffe) because he is concerned about loss of business for Clifton shops. But he seems happy enough with a major improvement to transport links which will spirit Clifton peeps (and probably quite a few Rushcliffe ones as well) away to the City where they may be tempted to partake in, uh, shopping. This will help Clifton shops, how, exactly? City Centre shops will probably be quite pleased however, with increased chances of surviving difficult financial conditions and lots of luvverly business rates paid to Nottingham City Council. Not Rushcliffe. Dear dear, Cllr Malcolm really doesn't appear to have thought this through, he should really think a bit more about the neighbours.
More importantly though is the issue of food deserts. Like I say, Clifton already has around 22k residents, the new development is for 5,500 homes which, being conservative, probably means another 16,000 or so new people in the area. Thats a chuffing big development by anybody's standards and, although I'm no planning professional, I'd always understood that huge residential developments without the associated infrastructure were generally considered a bad idea. Local shops are needed if people are to be able to buy more fresh produce and eat healthily. Travelling into the City once a week for the 'big shop' may be viable but people need perishables to be more locally accessible.
So call me Mr Cynical but I really am wondering whether Cllr Malcolm really has the best interests of Clifton folk and businesses at heart, or whether his agenda is to ensure that, by hook or by crook, if there's money to be spent it'll be spent in Nottingham.
Or maybe he's just and idiot talking bollocks.
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