Thursday, 28 July 2016

Beach Management Plan: "We have to tell our Councillors how we want to move Sidmouth forward without wrecking it."

There has been some disagreement within the BMP steering group:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: "We cannot and will not request that expert advice is altered because some stakeholders are not getting the answers they wish to hear."

And there seems to be disagreement between the BMP steering group and the public:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: Option 4b or not 4b >>> or: how to ignore everyone else's opinion

The chair of the BMP steering group wrote to the Herald earlier this month:

Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald

Last week, he received a reply - printed with permission:


Councillor Moulding feared we, the public, did not understand that consulting us on the Beach Management Plan did not mean our choice would be built, but I fear our Councillors do not understand why they are required by law to ask our opinion and to take it into account.

We know that Councillors are drawn from the general population, they are as likely or unlikely to have specialist knowledge in any area as the rest of us. 

Their opinions are based on the advice of experts but the decisions they make are informed by their aspirations (and by finances available, as Councillor Moulding pointed out ). They are only human and will be motivated by what they personally find important; that is why they are required to ask the
public what they, as residents and tax payers, consider to be important.

Such public consultations are supposed to stop Councillors becoming power mad and deciding that they know what is best for all areas; to stop them behaving like a Nanny with small children and assuming we don’t have the intelligence and experience to understand things and make valid choices.

We too rely on the advice of experts, we don’t have to understand whether something is technically possible or not. What we do have to do is tell our Councillors what our aspirations are. We have to tell them how we want to move Sidmouth forward without wrecking it.

Our Councillors need to understand that our responses to the Beach Management Plan, to the Re-imagining Port Royal competition, to the Knowle move and the Sidford Business park are all about aspiration and not about stupidity, naivety, inability to grasp facts or refusal to change.

We may not reach the dreams we are working towards but we have a vision of a future Sidmouth which is a vibrant economy in a beautiful setting.

Let us not forget that EDDC has to think of East Devon as a whole; we are the ones responsible for putting Sidmouth first.

Yours faithfully, Mary Walden-Till

Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald

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