Members of the Swale Borough Council Policy Overview Committee on Wednesday evening, discovered more about the problems facing the Council’s scheme for regeneration, which they are pursuing in association with the business group the “Spirit of Sittingbourne”.
The briefing by the Council’s Director of Regeneration, Pete Raine, explained that there is a further three month delay in drawing up concrete plans. The Spirit Master Plan is now due to appear at the end of March rather than last month as planned.
The Spirit of Sittingbourne is still struggling to produce completed plans for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 that are viable(that is likely to make sufficient money for investment and return). Phase 1 is around the Station/Forum area and would include a cinema and Phase 2 is around Central avenue with a new Civic Centre.
It also emerged that one of the Companies within the Spirit Group, Altyon, has withdrawn from the scheme without a replacement being found. It was intended that Altyon would play a key financing role.
Labour’s Leader Mike Haywood says,
“We recognise that the Council still believes that this project has a future. They are talking about planning applications going in later this year. We are not so sure and are not entirely convinced that the partners, Spirit of Sittingbourne, are as optimistic as the Council.”
Regeneration Spokesman Roger Truelove says
“I have always thought that the developers may not have had a realistic idea of what could be achieved in Sittingbourne. As they have come to terms with reality, the scheme has slipped.. We are sure that some alternative thinking will be needed before long.”