I have been in discussions with a council officer as there has been monies obtained to undertake a series of ‘developments’ alongside Whitecliff and Baiter Park. These are almost entirely of a maintenance nature e.g. level the ‘dog’ walking area between Whitecliff and the skateboard park so that it is not so undulating- but maintain the ‘ethos’ i.e. no gravel, just flatten the ‘pathway,’ repairs to wooden fencing adjacent to Whitecliff rec playpark, additional planting alongside the railway fence and also improve the ground surface on Baiter to reduce flooding so that events can be further moved behind Harbourside 2 car park, shielded by trees and more away from properties. To date we see nothing very contentious in these and other proposals, but will obviously keep a close eye!
Finally, it’s local election time in just over a year. With the proposed merger of councils, it will be a very interesting situation and I wonder how councillors will seek our votes. They would do well to remember that residents have long memories…!
Plans for the development of the pavilion are going ahead and received Cabinet approval in December. An old application put in by PBA some years ago for Town and Village Green status as protection against development (remember the debacle re the proposed Solar Pyramid?) means there cannot be any development until the application has been resolved. We engaged with the council and obtained Fields in Trust for Baiter and Whitecliff as a more progressive form of protection and therefore the TVG application was not relevant. However, rules apparently changed in 2013 and an application cannot now be withdrawn –it has to proceed. The council was aware of this but Legal Department decided to ‘park’ the request for removal as there were other issues to be sorted. Now the application has to go ahead even though we withdrew any support for it. So far, there has been a public hearing with two barristers, many senior council officers and a whole day…to date. Seems daft doesn’t it as we don’t have any interest in it at all! To summarise – IF the TVG application is withdrawn, the commercial concession opportunity will be put out to tender during this spring with a view to construction during the latter stages of 2018.