Jillings-Heynes are the Consultants for the Port Royal Scoping Exercise. They produced Boards for the Public Consultation which was held in Kennaway House on the 26th and 27th June 2017 and these boards were displayed online on the East Devon District website while the Consultation Survey for the public was running.
Since the Survey closed the Boards have been removed from the site. I am therefore displaying them here so that they are still available to view. I acknowledge Jillings-Heynes copyright but feel that it is important the documents are still available to form part of an historic record.
The written outline for this Scoping Exercise did not include producing proposals for the footprint or massing of any development, but the Activity Timeline did. Both Councils have said frequently and firmly that these Boards do not constitute proposals, and yet the Consultants working very closely with Alison Hayward, East Devon’s Senior Manager for Regeneration and Economic Development, produced this work for consultation.
The four Boards were displayed separately and there were experts on hand to answer questions from the public. Ms Hayward was one of these. When a representative of Jillings-Heynes was asked why she was helping, as this was supposedly an independent piece of work, the answer was that she knew as much about it as the Consultants did.
This leads to all sorts of questions …. as Ms Hayward stated ‘facts’ which were either contradicted by information on the other Boards (she was manning Board 3 when I spoke to her ) or which she was later brought to admit had been knowingly incorrect.
Jeff Turner, former Chair of Sidmouth Town Council and current Chair of the Scoping Exercise Reference Group, is on record as saying ‘The consultant is an independent consultant and he greatly values his independence. There was no reason to meet him repeatedly during his fact finding work. Why should we? It was not our job to steer him.’
This was in response to me asking him about the small number of meetings between the Group and the Consultants. The Group met once when the study was being set up, once when the Consultants were appointed and once immediately before the Consultation opened to the public. It would appear that they did not ever meet to discuss or pass on their own knowledge of the town or the history of years of considerations concerning redeveloping Port Royal. Which is what they were set up to do.
Yet Alison Hayward knew as much about it as the Consultants, without there being any concerns about ‘steering’ or ‘independence’.