Dear Local Residents

It has been brought to my attention that on Thursday 25th April 2024 a ‘Peaceful Protest’ is to take place outside The Heath Business and Technical Park at 6.30pm.

The definition of a ‘Peaceful Protest’ being a ‘non-violent resistance or non-violent action expressing disapproval through a statement or action without the use of violence or intimidation’.

Should this protest go ahead you will appreciate there is much for SOG to do to ensure all who could be affected, or who may feel uncomfortable, are informed properly and measures required can be put into place in good time.

SOG has absolutely no problem with a ‘Peaceful Protest’ being held and we will not object. It is everyone’s democratic right to express their differences of opinion in a ‘peaceful’ manner and SOG will always support that, the main point behind this being ‘peaceful’.

SOG became aware of the planned ‘Peaceful Protest’ via social media and not through any official channel and not directly from the ‘Foreman’ of the protest, Mr Morris. Mr Morris’s social media post requests megaphones and hence we started to question just how peaceful this ‘Peaceful Protest’ will become and whether it could bring with it safety issues and possibly intimidation issues for users of our business park.

I have to be conscious of any potential risks as many people will know The Heath Business and Technical Park is far more than a Business Park and it is my responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of all who come to site is always paramount. Each evening The Heath becomes, in various ways, a massive community centre with many sporting, social and community activities taking place, for both adults and children alike, this coming Thursday for example we have over 120 children onsite aged between 5 and 16 years of age. We are a 24/7 Business and Technical Park so we have shift workers on site and we have many children’s clubs from Karate to Majorettes and also after school educational schooling taking place on a Thursday evening, with some special needs programmes.

It is because of this I am reaching out to local residents. The Heath over many years has been a very peaceful place, where people come and go without issue or incident.

It is unfortunate that social media nowadays can so easily be used as a weapon and over the past few years I and SOG has been targeted by anonymous social media trolls (as I believe they are called), mainly due to the planning application for Heath Park and I am fearful that social media could impact on this ‘Peaceful Protest’ on Thursday, whipping up excitement which can (led by the few) turn this into something very different to the intended ‘Peaceful Protest’.

I appreciate we live in a world where social media and disagreements can quickly scale up into large scale disputes because of inaccurate social media communications and it can turn matters from a ‘Peaceful Protest’ into something that can become threatening, intimidating and even violent. As above, we at SOG totally understand and support a ‘Peaceful Protest’ and we will work with the organisers to ensure points are put across safely in a managed secure environment.

I do ask all though, to take a moment and think about how actions of such a protest can easily affect innocent people, especially the children, some of whom will have to pass this protest as they make their own way to their club or schooling at The Heath. What affect will it have on them if the protest is whipped up by the few with the requested megaphones etc?

I ask you to think about the type of protest you may wish to participate in and the type of protest you do not wish to be part of.

Some may disagree with the planning intentions for Heath Park, but I, SOG and The Heath site is not your enemy.

At the time of writing, I am currently awaiting guidance from the police as to how the protest will take place. If they confirm they are comfortable with the ‘Peaceful Protest’ intended to take place, SOG will assist in any way we can.

We respectfully request all protestors demonstrate outside the boundaries of the site.

I do hope this letter is received in the spirit it is given.

Regards

John

John Lewis MBE DL

Managing Director

SOG LIMITED