The simple answer is I don’t know how this will work. I do know it will be based on constant effort and keeping alert, and that it will evolve.
At the moment it is pretty much a one woman show, but we’ll not get far like that. There is so much that needs doing and I need help. The immediate danger to the Hall is of course the current joint EDDC and STC Scoping Exercise to assess what can and should be done with Port Royal. If we are to save the Drill Hall we need a group of people who will watch for and read any relevant information, and then share it so we don’t miss opportunities.
A company, Jillings Heynes, has been chosen to carry out the Exercise, and now things will start to move quickly. Worryingly, the Councils have set what are called ‘Gateways’ which will be a cut off points for a group of considerations and after which there is no going back.
As a designer this seems to me to be a silly strategy. I understand how it is intended to stop people constantly going over the same ground but we all know that in real life one gets flashes of insight as time goes on and information accumulates. You have only got to look at the pickle EDDC has got itself in with its Gateways in the Knowle relocation; everything was based on the planning application going through and now the timescale has to be rehashed despite the Gateway being passed.
Never-the-less, if the Town and District Councils demand Gateways we have no option but to work to them. The full details of the Scoping Exercise and Project Brief are here, from Sidmouth Town Council, pages 18-30; and on the Useful Documents page. I have been told by the Chair of STC and by the Clerk to the Council that the draft project brief went out unchanged except for minor ‘tidying up’ to the wording
So now we need people to keep their eyes and ears open and share information. I am not trying to make either Council out to be ‘the enemy’ but it is incontrovertible that Councils and ratepayers don’t always agree on what is best to be done. Councillors are only human and like all of us have strengths and weaknesses, if we work together we can all lend our strengths and experience to achieve the best possible outcome given the constraints.
If I can persuade you to join with me and lend your strengths to mine we will create the answer to ‘How will this work?’