I am writing to correct and qualify the allegations made by David TC Davies MP in his column “A View from The Commons” that the Abergavenny & District Civic Society should offer no opinion on the Replacement Local Development Plan because it represents political bias.

I can assure Mr Davies, and your readers, that our Society welcomes anyone committed to our objectives regardless of their politics, and that we always consult our membership before expressing views on the RLDP. Planning policy can often be highly political, and it is surely reasonable for a society committed to the wellbeing of its town to choose to oppose the political position of its local government. Does our MP want to stifle that?

Mr Davies wrote, ”A former Labour Town Mayor is chair of the civic society, and I am aware that there are other members who are supporters of the Labour Party”.

He seems oblivious of the fact that we live in a democracy. The members of the Civic Society elected me as their Chair, not for the first time, regardless of my personal political views. 

I am proud of the many achievements that the Society has accomplished during my membership from 2010 to the present day.

He complains that the published letter from Mr Dick Cole was a political swipe at the housebuilding policies of the previous Conservative council. 

Mr Cole’s letter was a personal and professional observation, critical of inconsistencies, as is his right. 

He chose to contrast the political opposition with the consistent approach of the Civic Society and, as a Society member, he was factually accurate. The housing aspirations of the RLDP under the previous Conservative MCC administration were much higher than those proposed by the current MCC administration. 

It is therefore strange that the Conservatives and others now attack the present strategy as excessive.

While the Society has welcomed the present county council’s more sustainable aspirations, it will be scrutinising the final plan closely and contesting it if unconvinced that it will deliver its commitments.

Tony Konieczny (Chair Abergavenny & District Civic Society)