The purpose of this report is to present the results of the recent public consultation exercise undertaken.
The Principal Landscape and Project Officer reminded Members that at the last meeting of the Committee plans were in place to launch the public consultation exercise for this project and so her report provided the results of this exercise.
Members were advised that the consultation had included opportunities for online and face to face feedback which had been useful in understanding peoples’ views. The response from the collated surveys had been very positive with a high percentage of those taking part welcoming all elements of the proposals. The detail of the responses received had been broken down within the report with more detail being set out in the appendix provided.
The focus for the project team from now was to proceed with the tender for the design and build contractor so that the results could be reviewed by them. The Principal Landscape Officer added that the economic climate continued to present challenges and so the officer team would be working with the contractor to mitigate these where possible.
The Chair invited questions from the Committee. Various observations were made. One related to the suggested provision of trees across The Green as there was concern that The Green’s major redeeming feature was its provision of major open public space which was also used for large events. It was felt that the provision of trees could obstruct some of this valuable space. It was felt that the Stage by the Sea needed to be more user friendly with a stage extension being provided to enhance performance space and improving useability. A request was made for Officers to think carefully about the number and positioning of electric charging points for vehicles to not exclude people who would increasingly use these points and to also provide this facility to nearby residents. These observations were noted by the Officer team.
Other Councillors spoke in support of the project and the results received confirming that the proposals would greatly benefit the area. The use of the containers for retail usage was applauded and it was hoped that this could be extended out to other areas in the district. In response to some questions asked about the risk assessment provided, it was explained that all risks were continually reviewed and that some would be challenging in terms of cost and programme timelines. In responding to questions asked about solar panels in car parks and the provision of a storage facility for the Park Run, it was confirmed that these issues would be up for discussion at the next stage of the design and as the project was still at the concept design stage. Stage 3 of the project would be brought back to the Committee for sign off prior to the planning application stage.
Another question was asked in terms of the frontage of The Windmill Theatre and whether enhancements could be made to the entrance from the car park. It was explained that although this was a good point to raise, there was no funding allocated as part of this project to meet this request.
Finally, Members in concluding their debate, praised the Officer Team for undertaking a thorough and successful consultation. A final request was made to see if activities for mid-teens could include volleyball or basketball if there was opportunity to accommodate this.
At the end of the discussion, the Committee noted the report with the Chair thanking Officers for their work.