Joanna Martindale praised the developer's consultations over the Gala bingo hall (Letters, May 29).

It may be the case that Downland Housing has consulted with the Portland Road and Clarendon Forum.

However, to say that it has consulted with residents is a fallacy because the forum does not represent local residents.

Most people in this area have no idea who or what the forum is. It is led not by local people but by a group funded through the council.

Whatever changes the forum may have negotiated they were clearly inadequate as more than 300 people sent in objection letters to Downland's last planning application for the site - and with good reason.

Not only did it include 38 flats but also a super surgery on a site little over half a hectare in size.

They were even planning to build on land that is currently the pavement. It would have been a gross over-development of the site and caused parking chaos in the area.

The sad truth is that the forum represents interest groups that all stand to benefit from significant section 106 monies and the more that is built on the site the more money they will get. Our view, and that of local residents, is that no amount of section 106 money would compensate for the type of development planned by Downland Housing and the PCT super surgery.

Over-development does not lead to social cohesion. We need a development on the site that enhances the neighbourhood.

Unlike Ms Martindale, who is paid to facilitate the forum, we are an unfunded residents group who strive to give a voice to the concerns and aspirations of the community in which we live.

Downland should consult with the people who live here. We are the ones who will have to live with whatever is built on the site. And let us not forget that buildings outlive us and will last for generations to come.

  • Derek Rist, chairman, Marmion Road Road Residents' Association