Neighbourhood Plan steering group: is it viable?

Quite a crowd of observers at the Neighbourhood Plan steering group meeting last night (15 October)? Were you one of them? Any comments?

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4 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Plan steering group: is it viable?

  1. Nathalie Banaigs

    Many people in town have all the knowledge and arguments to stand against proposals that in my view will eventually ruin Faversham. I cannot get my head round the fact that a small group of people are still trying to rule the town and ignore, openly and sometimes with contempt, what a larger and larger group of residents wish. I am impressed by the lack of vision of this steering group, lack of interest in the assets (ie heritage) that Faversham has. This steering group seems to be steering in the wrong direction! I am equally impressed by the intelligence displayed in the proposals from local groups.
    The way these meetings are conducted is indeed archaic…

    Reply
  2. Griselda Mussett

    For me, the question is ‘Is this Steering Group viable?’
    I think not. I was interested to read in the New Scientist last week (Vol 222, No 2938, p.9, 9th October) an article discussing the idea that political unrest goes in highly predictable cycles coinciding with the emergence of powerful elites at the expense (low wages and disempowerment) of the main population:
    ‘…Technology has brought about the emergence of a complex, networked society, one that … existing democratic institutions are too simplistic to govern.’
    The unrest obviously includes violence and the overthrow of old regimes, throughout history.
    The Steering Group is relying on a very old set of rules (possibly Victorian, who knows?) in which the public are deliberately silenced apart from a token 15 minutes BEFORE substantive matters are discussed. We were graciously favoured on Tuesday when the Chairman allowed an extension of time for public questions, as if it were a special gift.
    Representatives of groups or organisations with any kind of interest are now (belatedly) asked to declare any interest – which then EXCLUDES those people from the discussion, even though they may hold the very expertise which is needed for a full understanding. That includes councillors. The whole point of declaring an interest is that people know how someone may benefit from a decision – all it requires is that the situation is transparent, not that the person is sent out of the room.
    There is absolutely no reason for the Steering Group to operate under normal Town Council rules. They can set up their own procedures, as other places have done.
    The complete and deliberate failure to listen to what the townspeople are saying can only end in fiasco for this process.
    It would be interesting to know what the Swale BC Localism representative, Mr Whiting (?), who was present, thinks.

    Reply
  3. David Walker

    I find it suprising that this “steering group” seems to be above and beyond the people it should be representing. I don’t like the assumption that “residential use” should be created by the proposal. Who voted for that? I think a competitive “steering group” should be set up where the lines of communication and voting results are made public.
    Goodness! its not rocket science and we have had some good input from other “neighbourhoods” as examples.

    Reply
  4. Sue Cooper

    I was at the meeting and was somewhat disconcerted that the group did not seem to be aware of the existence of these documents (see links below). I would have thought that a full knowledge of the strength of the current protection for the creek as a maritime site (as specified in AAP2) would have been a given by now – if not from the outset.

    My belief was that the Neighbourhood Plan would strengthen these already strong policies that are clearly in line with the NPPF (which the steering group keep trying to scare us with).

    It seems to me that the steering group were indeed handed a powerful “magic wand” (whose absence Cllr Cosgrove lamented last night). But they seem to be totally unaware of its existence or power.

    I cannot understand why they have not at the very least made some effort to protect the Creek by grasping the once in a lifetime opportunity to set the strong and NPPF compliant policies in stone. Instead they have succeeded in destroying any protection the policies offered and have simply opened the door to developers.

    I cannot believe that they seriously think the situation could possibly have been any worse had the awful day they first met never happened (sorry about the multiple negatives, but I can think of nothing positive).

    Relevant pages on this first doc are pp 19 and 27 amongst others.

    http://www2.swale.gov.uk/dso/download/9916B35CA1CD4D25A3A2EDC062DC6860.pdf

    The meeting minutes :
    http://www2.swale.gov.uk/dso/viewminutes.asp?uid=1293
    The report:
    http://www2.swale.gov.uk/dso/download/E2CE0E8D37B442C08B48CB097F4FB29F.pdf

    Reply

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