Undershaw - Apparent Press Bias

The Surrey Press continues to disappoint with its coverage of the battles surrounding Undershaw.

I have been obtaining regional papers over the last few weeks and have been stunned at the lack of balance. Essentially the pro-Stepping Stones articles/letters outnumber those of the opposition at least three to one.

Now you might say that this reflects public opinion but I question whether that is relevant. Is an opposing view to be drowned out or condemned because it is perceived to be in the minority? Let's not forget that being in the minority doesn't make you wrong or your opinion less valid.

Yet the idea that minority views should be given less (or no) weight is precisely what is coming across from this lack of regional press balance.

Why don't you write to the press? I hear you cry. Well I did and my letter wasn't published. This isn't sour grapes on my part. I accept that there could have been any number of reasons for that editorial decision but it nevertheless helps add to the impression that only a small number of people have any issues with the plans of Stepping Stones.

The other disturbing element of this is that pro-Stepping Stones parties are moaning that things are taking too long and preventing the school from doing its work. Maybe the school is being held up by all these events but this is what happens when proper procedure is followed.

People have a right to make planning applications and others have the right to oppose them. Welcome to local democracy! Democracy isn't a pick 'n' mix. You cannot choose the elements you want. Waverley Borough Council is, presumably, following legal advice in order to ensure that the decision it comes to, whatever it may be, is not flawed.

An unambiguous and solid decision is in everyone's best interests, whether they realise it or not, as it provides a stable route forwards. A decision that is legally sound should put an end to further wrangling (regardless of whose favour it is in) and then people can move forward.

For those wondering what my opinion on all this is (and who haven't read prior posts) my position is simple. I have no objection to a school in Undershaw providing it is sympathetic to the house and its history.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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