A few words from Wiltshire Councillor Ian McLennan
Ian McLennan was kind enough to email me after stumbling across this blog, and thought it unfair that I portrayed his predominance in Old Sarum affairs in a sinister light. He kindly took the time to fill in some background as to why he “has his finger in all the pies”. He has agreed that I can publish his email here, so any relative new-comers like myself can learn some of his history in the area:
“I am very proud to have represented Old sarum since 1995 as one of the two Salisbury District Councillors and then was elected as the only Wiltshire Councillor when they sadly did away with SDC in 2009. In 2005 we had the last Local Plan and with the support of the local residents, who wanted and needed facilities and infrastructure, 630 houses were agreed via persimmon (who were nice to us all back then!). My colleague cllr at the time, Frank Bissington and I, both said that the MOD pitches should be included in the development and not fenced off, as MOD had stated. The cost was another 44 dwellings but we got some youth facilities and a pitch left!. That’s what is being ‘consulted’ at present (Pegasus/persimmon).
Together with the Laverstock & Ford Parish Council and the then residents association, we both tried very hard to get lots of extras and did succeed. That is why I appear to know a lot about the history and what lies behind it all. It’s etched on my memory.
My recent “pie making” has only been surrounding the school and the nursery. The school was put in the plan at the start of the development by me and Frank. Unbeknown to us, the County Council, who were responsible for education, made a different agreement with the developer and did not tell anyone. That’s why, when they said that the existing local children could not be part of the school, I became a governor and rounded up others who would ensure that all Old sarum children got a chance to attend. I am no longer a school governor, as the school has been open a year and I have done what was necessary. One less pie!
Back last November, the school head teacher informed the governors that he would not be opening the nursery in January and it would probably be after April….meaning that the start up grant from Wiltshire Council would be lost. I offered to help him open before April, as the governors had promised the residents. He agreed and a small band got the project underway. Cutting a long story short, we formed a company and registered as a charity (as requested by Wilts Council) and passed the Ofsted pre-opening inspection. Opened 20th February and got the grant! I expect you know, we were mornings only until Easter and then went full time, which was a miracle. The nursery had a fabulous Ofsted in the Summer, thanks to the management team and is well set this year. I am still the chairman of the Trustees at the moment but will step down in January, so Old Sarum people rightly take responsibility. Another pie gone!
I have done a few other things up there but I won’t bore you with that. I just wanted to let you know that I care very much about the area and the community and step in, if I think I can help. The Parish Council are also keen to help and the new residents association can make a real difference.
That nursing home is just stuck somewhere in Wiltshire Council at the moment, as they don’t know what to do! I complained that they were bringing Salisbury jobs out to Old sarum and not providing new jobs, as was promised. I asked what they would do to remedy it and it went quiet!
As for power….I have none. I am elected to represent the people of Laverstock (where I live), Ford and Old Sarum. That’s what I try and do. I also stick my nose into Hampton Park, as it is in our parish!
Keep up the good work on the blog. very interesting!
Thank you Ian for that clarification and your interest in the blog – which I must try to update a bit more regularly!