Mike Grimwade (Dec 29), has objected to my “brainwashing”

comments and asserts that “it would be better to base my opinions on facts rather than ignorance”.

Far from ignorance, I have been involved in quite a few projects that have involved the planning process.

I have also followed many others over the years, where often valid objection by residents and opposition councillors have been contemptuously ignored, often for partisan political reasons and using the “consultation”

process as justification.

I have always regarded “consultations” with a considerable degree of cynicism and that they should be seen more as “con” and “insulting”!

With this in mind and the way I had seen matters develop over the airport proposals, my letter was about democracy, little seen in these parts these days.

Indeed Mr Grimwade’s comments just reaffirm my point.

It would seem Mr Grimwade has deliberately chosen to ignore the undemocratic issue that only 17 of an elected 51 councillors will be allowed to vote on a major issue that will affect everyone in the town, not just those in the immediate flightpath area.

We are not talking about minor house alterations or the odd block of flats that will affect a small proportion of the electorate, where one could perhaps justify the committee approach, but a major development that will have repercussions for around 120,000-plus people.

I have yet to see a coherent justification for denying all of this town’s “democratically elected representatives” from voting on such an important issue.

If my concerns justify being called “ignorant”

then I find that just as objectionable as Mr Grimwade did to “stooge”, but then my comments were not personal, but group descriptive!

Mike Hansford
Blenheim Chase

...What Mike Grimwade (Jan 4) fails to take into consideration is that the data submitted with the planning application has been compiled by Southend Airport and its contractors.

It is full of manipulation and dubious claims, for example, that the Government supports the level of expansion proposed.

Denis Walker
East Street