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TCB Meeting 18 June 2013

The only matter of real interest on today's agenda related to the final version of the Thames Urban Development Strategy. It was supposed to be tabled today, but was again postponed following a Workshop held last week.

It is clear that despite all the plaudits for Strat's Thames Focus Group, that there remains substantial misgivings about aspects of the Plan, and that there is no intention to endorse any 'final' version before the Election. There is no way that some of our brave-hearted members wish to be saddled with almost inevitable reaction from within the town when the 'full and final' is published. So it is to 'work-shopped' once again in July before coming back to the 30 July meeting. But not for final acceptance, because as Cr French indicated this morning, "there is no hurry, and we need to be sure that we fully in agreement before we finally approve it." To which Strat replied "Yes of course, but we don't want to leave it too long."- Exactly - Start wants the credit, but the others are much to wary to give it at this stage.

The final official meeting of the Focus group appears to have been on 9 May, but there are no minutes on the website. The minutes of the 21 March meeting are here.   It appears to report the 'signing off' of the document ready for presentation to the Community Board. Since then there has been delay after delay as the consultants have been sent awya to tweak and change. Then the Draft was presented to the 7 June meeting of the Board where I earlier reported some distinct uneasiness. 

Today's agenda has the following paper on the subject; You would assume from this that must surely be ready to do some indepth analysis of the final document. But no, - more delay, workshops and meetings, and indecision. Clearly Stat and Greg Hampton (TCB Manager) are on a different page, and ready to go,but others are less so. It is now three months after all since the final input of the Focus Group - just look at the time line on Page 2. It is now clear that they are far from ready to 'endorse' the strategy. 

What was also clear this morning  is that Peter French as Chair of the DPRC (District Plan Review Committee) is insisting on ensuring the compatibility of the document with the Draft District Plan, and assurances along those lines were provided. That established, there should be no difficulty giving the 'big tick', but no, it is back to the drawing board. I don't think any of this lot other than Stat are willing to put their names to it prior to the election, but it may bcome clearer on 30 July. 




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