Borough Policy and Forward Plans are usually determined following public consultation exercises via either the Residents Panel of Local Business Panel and there are usually vacancies for members of the public, residents to participate and 'have a say' if they so wish. (Usually ignored)
The ones to watch out for are the Master Plans - hence the Benchmark / North Bay / Sands Development fiasco that is slowly unravelling now under a joint development between Scarborough Borough Council and Benchmark under the control of Roland Duce (Benchmark). Now these Master Plans are a way for the Council to circumnavigate any awkward questions, ergo stating "its all part of the Master Plan" for example not only the Sands Development but also the Renaissance (Scarborough's Regeneration Plan) and most lately the Forward Plan. Some are 5 years some 10 years and some seem to drag on forever.
The problem is that once a 'Master Plan' has been conceived, even if it is ill conceived (a totally f*ck up) the Council tends to run with it because that it was they ought to do. At no point (in the last ten years) has the Council ever stuck their hand up and said ... erm I think we messed up ... lets start again.
Now it would be very easy to blame the Councillors (who vote) for decisions taken, and to some extent the Officers of the Council whose 'development' plans may appear to be egotistic and 'legacy' based ie hey look what I did for that town ... but the bottom line is they are messing with public money, public property and peoples livlihoods. If you were to ask a Councillor 'why did you vote for that?' The common answer would be - 'we had a report.... and the report recommended ...' Anyhow the question is who writes these reports and who puts together these Master Plans and Forward Plans? Are they the same people?
Well in Scarborough Council's case I would say they are. So far I have identified 'four' from the Regeneration Team, unelected decision makers, that are employed by our Council for erm, making plans (and making sure they get passed)
Led by Nick Taylor : http://www.jtp.co.uk/public/uploads/pdfs/scarborough_yorkshire.pdf (considered an oldie but goodie). Back in 2002 (was that when they knocked down the Corner Caff? http://www.jtp.co.uk/public/uploads/pdfs/scarborough_charter_rf3f.pdf, this small 'team' has been reduced over the years down to the Fab Four. One of whom (AIUSI) is David Kelly http://scarboroughcomet.co.uk/post/6/27-million-boost-for-market-hall-ma...
Another possibility is Chris Hall : http://www.historictownsforum.org/files/documents/presentations/york11/C... Then there is/was David Archer and Peter Wilkinson who migrated to Scarborough Ambassadors, http://www.historictownsforum.org/files/documents/presentations/york11/C...
Anyhow, these Fab Four (or the Famous Five) were at the last Cabinet meeting I attended and were indeed very proud of the hardwork and results produced by their very own efforts that have had an impact on our Town; including Woodend Museum, Sandside, Town Hall & Futurist bid, Market Hall, The Sands (Northbay), The Street (Central) etc etc and yep they sure know how to promote and write a report (there are rather a lot of them).
My question is who are these people? Exactly?
Back to the now: within these plans are 'policies' and guidelines that also need updating periodically. Here is a rather samll but interesting policy that will or could have rather a large impact on the Town : http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/documents/s63491/15098%20Draft%20Gam...
Why? This policy needs to be updated due to the Small Casino business "Small Casino Premises Licence, it was necessary for the Council to review its Policy early to include the competition criteria for Stage 2 applicants."
Eh? Well for anyone following the history of the Sands Development (including OAT, closing of the Futurist etc etc) it was once proposed that the old Atlantis site was developed as a hotel with Casino shop. At that time the OAT was run by Apollo ... who soon runaway (but have they?) BUT they were up against and bidding for the Second Licence against the Towns only successful and still operating Casino in North Street run by the local Shaw family. The Opera House Casino, supported by most locals.
So? This last week the 'latest' plans, recommended for approval, by Benchmark on the old Atlantis site is for a mulitplex cinema. (Not a hotel or casino or whatever they can conjure up next). This will be passed by planning because it is part of the Master Plan (ie they can do what they like). See here: http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/local/new-cinema-is-given-backi...
Meanwhile the Shaws development proposal for a multiplex to be built Town Central (next door to the Opera House Casino) has been sat on the Council's regeneration team/development or whatevers desk for the last five years and the Council have failed to do anything with it. Why is that?
So at next week's Cabinet meeting Tuesday 14th April, shortly followed by the 'decision on the Benchmark Multiplex' on the 16th April, I asked Nick Shaw if he was likely to attend and object. No.
The Multiplex at the Sands will be passed but it will never be built. No Multiplex operator would invest money onto that site. It is not viable.
Meanwhile, as part of the Forward Plan ... The Futurist, Endeavour Wharf (Windfarm) etc etc ... http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=108&MId=5783
"Nothing to lose and nothing to prove" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG1NrQYXjLU ;-)
Apologies - missed out an important bit - not as daft as they look the SN :-))
It states: “It is the applicant’s case that even with significant subsidies, cinema fit-outs are often in excess of £2 million, and there is still a requirement for a cinema operator to invest a minimum of £1 million on top, as well as committing to a long term lease at a fixed minimum rental rate.
“This underlines the importance of location for any operator.”
The main stumbling block was the granting of planning permission for a five-screen cinema on the site of the North Street car park in 2008.
The applicant of that scheme, Nikolas Shaw, has objected to the North Bay application, saying he will seek a judicial review if it is approved.
However, the council’s planning officers feel there is enough evidence to warrant backing the scheme.
The report concludes: “The outcome of this [application] is finely balanced in this matter regarding the North Street site in particular, but having assessed socio-economic considerations in a holistic manner, it is concluded that these help tip the balance in favour of approving the application.”
(thats not what he told me ... )
Choose your battles wisely ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd_GRy8SKII
Much more to come on this ...