17 August 2009

Who the hell is Paul Dadson?

During my research into the sorry history of the Etsome Terrace site I stumbled on a bunch of drawings which referred to the Etsome Terrace site. These drawings, available for all to see on the SSDC Planning website, showed various possible development options for the site and I was curious to know more about them.

It turns out that the ideas were drawn up by Paul Dadson who was, at the time, working for Somerset County Council. He became involved with the site when County made the ill-fated residential application for the site in 2001. That application proposed the use of the whole site as residential and ran into a huge storm of local protest, attracting letters of opposition from every quarter, including one signed by 'E Edgar'. The signature looks quite similar to that of one of the current directors of Edgar Builders, Elaine Edgar. Surely a coincidence?

But I digress. After the County scheme was pulled, County paid for Paul Dadson to come up with a variety of schemes whereby the site would be developed for a limited amount of residential which would pay for the building of a community hall for Somerton. The most favoured scheme was 'option 3' which is reproduced below.Now its equally strange that, when Somerton Town Council bought the site, all mention of a community hall was dropped in favour of a health centre. The Town Council faffed about for more than 4 years until everyone had long forgotten that Etsome was meant to be the site for the community hall and the health centre idea was quietly abandonned. Then, in 15 days flat, Somerton Town Council had three offers to buy parts of Etsome for residential development. And, of course, we know who the winners were, Edgar Builders, the very same Edgar Builders who bought the site at Unit 8 Cary Court from none other than A H Canvin in 2004.

The sad thing is that the Dadson scheme would have delivered everything that Somerton wanted and at minimal cost to the town. The only downside would have been that it would have been a partnership deal with County and that would have meant transparency and accountability. As we well know, Somerton Town Council doesn't do either so the scheme had to be binned.

Till next time, may your God watch over you.