Tenterden Regeneration: Project Engagement, Working Together and Transparency
The TDRA fully supports the concept of a full public consultation process for the Tenterden Regeneration Project, however having attended the some of the Tenterden Regeneration Project consultations and in light of the recent ‘Second Digital Survey’, the TDRA question aspects of the process in which public opinion is being sought to assist the Town Council in making decisions with regards to the allocation of funds for the Regeneration Project.
- We have the following concerns that some of the questions in the ‘Second Digital Survey’ are misleading and do not offer enough scope for public comment or the disclosure of analysis and reasoning.
- How does the ‘First Digital Survey’ inform the ‘Second Digital Survey’ – we are not aware of any clarification?
- Where are the criteria or scoring methods used to determine the current list of projects proposed in the digital survey?
- It appears that the residents want a high quality commercially run cinema, where is the reasoning to already discount the option of a commercially run cinema when an interested commercial operator exists? Question 11 could be misconstrued as it infers an automatic assumption that a commercially run facility is not viable and has no commercial interest e.g. Silverscreen
- Where is the analysis to evaluate the viability of a high quality commercially run cinema that the residents want?
- Following ‘Digital Survey One’ the Council said that they would be studying a variety of potential sites for the cinema that was overwhelmingly requested in that survey, in the intervening period council members have stated that Town Hall has been ruled out – it is now back in ‘Digital Survey Two’. Why haven’t the findings of this study and conclusions stated been released to the public?
- Where is the justification for a skate board park in Tenterden Recreation Park when it was commented in the consultations that there was very little representation from the teenage age bracket?
- Where is the ‘Declaration of Competing (Conflict of) Interests’ in relation to the skate board park, by a national skate board park developer who is leading this public consultation on behalf of the Town Council?
- Why is the apparently most popular project, the cinema, only item 11 in the survey?
- Where is the reasoning for two community hubs when one well designed hub should cater for all ages?
- The concern about lack of safe cycle paths, could also be addressed by the Town Council in the form of safe cycle parks or areas instead of pushing the whole topic to the Borough and County Council
It appears to us that there is a lack of transparency and communication in this process, including:
- Insufficient disclosure of analysis and reasoning
- Inadequate notification of the opportunity for residents to participate in the consultation process
- Inadequate disclosure that all options have been reasonably fully considered and debated
- Ensuring that the findings are suitably prioritised and fairly selected
The TDRA would like to see continued public consultation adopt a more transparent, communicative and informed approach, ensuring the analysis and reasoning are made public for the residents benefit as part of the decision making process.
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