The ruling Cabinet on Swale Borough Council, at its meeting on
February 6th, was called upon to set up a formal project team to manage the town’s regeneration project. One of the assigned roles of such a team will be to take steps to minimise the impact of building works on the local community. This follows the chaos and disruption caused in the first phase of construction, the Morrison’s Supermarket at Mill Way.
The call for a Project Team to manage the regeneration process, is one of seven recommendations made by the cross party Policy Overview Committee in its report to be considered by Cabinet.
Other recommendations call on the Council, through the ruling cabinet, to establish clear risk management procedures for the Sittingbourne Town centre project and regular monitoring reports to go to all Council members, the business community and local residents. There is particular concern about the land transfer and financial arrangements associated with the schemes. The Policy Overview Committee has also asked that, with an eye to the long term, the Council should establish succession procedures, to ensure continuity when current officers are no longer in post and has also called for stronger links with the partner developers as the schemes go forward.
Work on the advisory report was begun last summer by the Policy Overview Committee and the lead reporter was Labour Councillor, Roger Truelove, working together with Conservative Andy Booth and Independent Monique Bonney. Their recommendations were agreed by the full committee on 16th January.
The Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Mike Haywood says,
“Our report sets out the steps the Council needs to take if it is to win back public confidence in the project, as well as to deliver the regeneration of the town centre and to meet the aspirations of a growing local population.”
Cllr Roger Truelove adds,
“This is not a report on the mistakes of the past. We have produced non-partisan recommendations which we believe are important at this crucial early stage in the Sittingbourne Town centre project. There are areas which we believe require a more clear organisational structure for a Council which is embarking on an ambitious development programme in Sittingbourne.”