Town centre strategy does nothing at end of the day’
COUNCILLORS have launched a scathing attack on a new report about the future of Royston town centre. The report from North Herts District Council is seen as part of shaping a strategy for the town centre – but has been dismissed as having no value. It was
COUNCILLORS have launched a scathing attack on a new report about the future of Royston town centre.
The report from North Herts District Council is seen as part of shaping a strategy for the town centre - but has been dismissed as having no value.
It was torn apart during the town council's planning committee meeting on Monday evening.
It was seen as merely part of "a typical bureaucratic process".
Members were angry that the report did not reach any conclusions and was simply reporting on a series of workshops run over recent months.
Committee vice-chairman Cllr Rod Kennedy led the criticism when he told members: "There is no value to this document.
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"It's been a complex process involving huge amounts of money and it does nothing at the end of the day," he said.
Cllr Kennedy said he was expecting a report that reached conclusions about the town centre - and set out a strategy for the future.
"This is a typical bureaucratic process and a question of putting a tick in the right box," he said.
He was annoyed, too, that the town council had been given less than a month to respond to the 27-page report.
The report was issued at the end of July and the town council was told to respond to a deadline of August 17.
"It is unacceptable and the deadline needs to be extended by at least a month," said Cllr Kennedy.
"We have a report which is unsatisfactory," he said. "There is too much time spent on producing reports in which there is no outcome."
Cllr Lindsay David-son said the report - Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Draft Royston Town Centre Strategy Supplementary Planning Document - said nothing about the future of the town centre.
"We simply want to know whether the strategy is going to deliver," she said. "We want answers - we want to know the bottom line."
She continued: "This is a report on what we already know and not one that says what is going to happen.
"We need to have a thorough report which is valid and we would like to know the outcomes," she said.
The report, however, raises concerns that came from a series of workshop sessions during recent months.
- Poor variety of retail shops in town centre
- Parking charges
- Town centre dominated by charity shops, banks and building societies
- An increasing proportion of retail expenditure is going out of the town
- Lack of facilities for young
- A need to improve supply of high-quality affordable housing
- Improved street lighting and closed-circuit television camera coverage
Meanwhile, a draft town centre strategy is being drawn up for a six-week public consultation exercise.
This will include an exhibition at Royston library and a public meeting to discuss the strategy.