Humberston Fitties residents blast hearing to determine how long they can stay on site
"A COMPLETE waste of public money!"
That is the view of angry Humberston Fitties residents about a hearing to decide if they could stay on site for 50 weeks a year.
North East Lincolnshire Council's Cabinet has approved a select committee recommendation to keep the "closed" period at eight weeks a year.
The Fitties Owners Residents' Association Bungalow (FORAB) had asked for the final decision to be put back until March when they are at the park. This was backed by the committee, but ignored by cabinet.
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The decision was made following a referendum, a consultation and the two-day hearing costing £1,674.78 – despite the planning department having the final say.
Chairman of FORAB, Paul Harwood, said: "We said before they started this whole consultation the final decision lies with planning and the consultation would be a waste of time. This whole process has just been to delay the decision until the closed season. It has been a complete and utter waste of public money."
The council is able to extend terms of Fitties leases but permission for residents to stay on site for longer can only be granted by the planning committee when applications are submitted, which residents can now do.
Nine other recommendations, published by the select committee, were also approved, including: establishing a working group for management or disposal of the site, exploring options to improve tourism, and implementing emergency evacuation arrangements.
FORAB wants to develop tourism but think the working group should be managed by residents not officers, which is the most likely case. Mr Harwood said: "They want to run us down and keep the Fitties' voice under wraps. Progress could have been made but we are not being given a fair crack of the whip. We should be responsible for our own destination."
Making the final decision at Cabinet, council leader Chris Shaw said: "We need to get on and deal with this once and for all. I appreciate why the recommendation to defer was made but the decision-making process of this council is decided by the Cabinet."
The consultation was held in response to a petition by the Fitties residents.
Councillor Ray Sutton, chair of the select committee, said: "It was important for everyone to be given an opportunity to have their say.
"At the hearing we heard all sides of the debate and the recommendations strike a fair balance between the needs of the community, the council's many different responsibilities and also the unique character of the Fitties."
FORAB will decide whether they will submit an application to shorten the "closed" period to NELC planning department at their Annual General Meeting in May.