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Barton's Future

Following last month's editorial in this magazine, I was asked whether I was pessimistic about the future of Barton. On the contrary, I am very optimistic about the future of the town. Yet I have spent too long in the faceless suburbs of London not to realise that plain optimism without watchfulness is the recipe for disaster.
It strikes me that there are two sides to town planning. One side is the carrying out of detailed work in approving and rejecting plans for particular developments from single houses, parking restrictions, the defining of what are to be the commercial centres and which are to be restricted to residential developments.
The second side is far more important, for without it the detailed work loses all its meaning. This second side is the concept a community has of the way it wishes to develop. We need to have a clear picture of what we wish Barton to be in fifty years time. We have to face the question whether we wish to remain an integrated community or become a satellite of a larger development. This is the fundamental question, because on the answer we give to it depends the whole future of the town's life.
In a few months time we shall lose our own town council with the introduction of the new Local Government Act. The result will be that we shall find the control of our own destiny difficult, though by no means impossible. Organisations such as the Civic Society will need far more widespread support than in the past and will need to broaden their horizon far beyond the bounds of the Conservation area so that it becomes a voice to be heard with respect in all matters to do with the town's development and a strong support for the few representatives we shall have on the new county and district council.
One thing is certain - that to allow curselves to drift is to be lost. Bare optimism is no substitute for preparedness. One lesson we shall have to learn under the new local government system is that those who continue to press their views are those who get things done. With local government having its centre so far away as Hull we shall need to be heard with a united voice if Barton is not to disappear as we know it.
[Revd. Darrel Speedy]


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