On the 10th of May 2017 we were given 10 minutes to present to Council followed by question and answer time. For the presentation we facilitated some of the representatives from some of the groups needing Necarne for which our campaign developed into an umbrella group, to speak, by making a film – (linked below). We submitted the document (below) in an attempt to illustrate to Councillors how the open inclusive Future Search process and Social Enterprise would meet the aspirations expressed in their Expression of Interest process (but not the scoring they set which was set for private commercial bidder) and follow their policies which are full of ideals of community empowerment, openness, inclusiveness, and indeed supporting social enterprise. (what we suggest also meets Built Heritage At Risk report on Necarne recommendations re Castle and other independent reports re Necarne and local community – e.g. Village Plan) We explained the Community Asset Transfer was part of programme for Government and illustrated opportunities both economic and non economic of adopting this inclusive way forward using the best of skills, resources, community and organisations in the FODC area as well as regional Gov Depts, to shape the way forward and create the best future for Necarne and the region. The use for the castle was a key concern with Councillors, but yet again the Castle at Risk tab on our site carries report from Built Heritage at Risk that suggests community ownership and states the Gov Policy that monetary gain should not be the priority of the Council in relation to heritage (all estate is listed) – unfortunately and inappropriately their process scored precisely for monetary gain – and now the preferred bidder will abandon the castle – meaning no hope of saving it. It seems all the policies and recommendations locally and regionally are there to support Necarne and what we are asking for. Necarne is a big multi-faceted project and it needs a brave solution for a sustainable future. It remains to be seen if the Council can see beyond their traditional ways of working with business plans and projections from individuals discussed in secret amongst themselves in chambers, to open up to enact their policies and aspirations expressed in them, and utilise all the stakeholders, groups, and partners that exist in the community, local and regional organisations, gov depts and equine college etc who are ready willing and able to make Necarne all that it could be, should be and was funded to be. But first of all they need to let go of any private investor for whom the commercial criteria and scoring was designed and halt the hand over and private profit exploitation of this regions greatest asset and £5 Million of public investment – because as our submission shows it is greatly needed and we simply can’t afford to lose it and the benefits it bring to this region and community. We can’t afford to economically, or in regard to community or heritage needs.
We must stand up for Necarne – we must remember those who died there and why they died – just a look at the morgue tables where the bodies of those who died fighting for democracy were washed, should spur us all on to make democracy work here, understand what is lost when public assets are privatised in secret processes, and stop our councillors handing over this asset to a private investor – as if they can do this with this asset then they can do it again and again until everything is in the hands of multi millionaires whose only priority is profits, and accountability and governance are long gone and prices rise again and again until only rich can afford to use asset. Guess who suffers most in this? yes the most vulnerable – the people not at our meetings, the people not speaking up now, the invisible silent people in care homes or carers exhausted as they care for those with special needs – too exhausted to fight, who again and again get services cut, budgets stolen and are last on the list. And the important things like the Castle – the baby thrown out with the bath water – allowing the private investor to take all the estate that makes profits but leave the castle that will cost them ensures it will fall. Had different criteria been used to gather all the love for the castle in the community and allow them to take over the whole estate – then that would have give the best chance to save the castle as they would be eligible to drawn down funding from so many sources. Privatisation process requires you not to care – only to care about what they tell you about your personal rate bill, but they wont tell you about the losses. If they just followed their own policies this would not happen – so please read the submission below as knowledge is power. An empowered informed community is healthy for everyone.
For our presentation the group decided it was best to try to facilitate for representatives of some of the main groups involved to speak so we made a 10 min film and it was played to Councillors.