COUNCILLOR JOHN DENNIS is the 667th Mayor of Hedon. He says he is a “a Mayor without the fanfare” following finding himself with that job after the unprecedented circumstances of the resignation of his predecessor, but he says he is the town’s Mayor, and his focus has had to concentrate on the future of Hedon with several major challenges being faced by the town.
Speaking at the Annual Town Meeting last week, Cllr. Dennis, also in his role as Town Council Chairman, outlined some of those challenges and issues that he thinks residents should be aware of:
Invasion from Hull: Hull City Council have declared an intention to build on the old Hedon aerodrome land. They have awarded sole negotiating rights to a company, Lateral Power, to investigate building a bio-mass power plant that will heat fish-farming, horticultural and other enterprises. However, despite having those negotiating rights for a whole year, the company have not had the decency to come and talk to Hedon Town Council about their ideas.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council must give planning approval before anything can be built on the aerodrome site and in the draft Local Plan have said the site is not available for development. This stance of the East Riding has been confirmed again this morning (17th April). Hull City Council looks set to challenge the draft Local Plan at the highest level.
Expansion of Hull: Hull City Council have expressed a wish to expand its boundaries into areas currently in the East Riding – this includes Hedon. A pre-requisite of this, is that they must seek the agreement of those affected. A Public Inquiry is to be held in the summer when Hull Council will present its case.
Cllr Dennis asked rhetorically on behalf of the town: “Are we happy with this expansion? Happy to become part of Hull? Of course not!”
A full-scale referendum will be organised by the East Riding Council in the early summer to give residents in the affected areas a chance to express an opinion on this. One of the important things in this referendum, says Cllr Dennis, will be ensuring that there is a good turn-out. It’s hoped that residents will be prepared to become involved in a campaign to ensure that this is the case.
Siemens: Whilst welcoming the investment in the local area by Siemens and what it will mean for the local economy and jobs, Cllr. Dennis warned about some of the negative impacts that will have to be guarded against.
Paull will be directly affected by the construction of a blade turbine manufacturing facility near to the village, and while this is fairly light industry, it is the element of heavy industry moving into the Enterprise Zone that could have impacts on both Paull and Hedon. The town needs to be watchful of developments and how they might increase the risk of flooding in the local area; we need to safeguard against the increase in traffic, dust, noise and odour.
Incinerator: Whilst not being able to say too much at this stage, Cllr. Dennis announced to the meeting that “No incinerator will be built at Saltend.”
This short summary highlights some of the issues raised in his speech, but additionally Cllr. Dennis was keen to pass on his thanks to those that have helped him fill an increasingly demanding voluntary role as Mayor: His Deputy Councillor David Thompson and wife Carole Thompson, Dave Young (Sergeant of the Mace) who plays several roles, the Council staff, and in particular his wife Jennifer for her ongoing and unfaltering support, and also his son and daughter who keep the family business running while he’s out of the office on town matters.
Cllr. Dennis finished of his report by re-affirming that after a difficult period, it was ‘back to business’ for Hedon Town Council. The council he said, consisted of a “positive bunch of people, all volunteers, who have the best interests of the people and town of Hedon at heart.”
♦ UPDATE: At the Hedon Town Council meeting of 24th April 2014, the council agreed to issue a public appeal for residents to get involved in a major campaign to respond to the East Riding Referendum on Hull’s expansion which will take place in ‘early summer’.
- The above is only a summary of the report given based on observation at the Annual Town Meeting on 17th April 2014 and should not be treated as any official record of decisions taken by Hedon Town Council.
- Councillor John Dennis has been nominated by Hedon Town Council to be the next 668th Mayor of Hedon for 2014-15. His current Deputy, Councillor has been nominated to continue as the Deputy Mayor.