Shaping Bishop's Stortford

Email to Councillor Tony Jackson on the future of Bishop's Stortford

To:Tony Jackson
Leader, East Herts District Council
28 September 2007

Hi Tony,

I am sending you this email on the above subject as a follow up to our correspondence in August. I understand that there has recently been a preliminary team assembled to look into identifying and selecting key players who will become permanent members of the Board responsible for determining the future shape of Bishop's Stortford.

I appreciate that getting the mix right is a major criterion and, therefore, it needs careful consideration, however, with so many important topics coming up for discussion and decision in the very near future; I am concerned that the time frame for implementing the operation of the Board may prevent it from playing an active role on some of these key issues. This could result in missed opportunities for the town and surrounding areas.

Also, the Civic Federation have recently received a leaflet from the Town Council inviting the Civic Federation and other bodies to participate in developing a Town Plan future strategy. I have spoken to the town council about this leaflet and they informed me that some 36,000 leaflets have been distributed across Bishop's Stortford. Apparently, the town council have formed a Working Party, with a chairman to develop this town plan, taking feedback and participation from all sections of the community. This is of course perfectly logical and the only sensible way in order to achieve a sustainable future strategy.

However, having read the minutes of meeting from this Working Party there is clearly a duplication of objectives between what the Town Council are attempting to achieve and the Shaping Bishop's Stortford project you are trying to get started.

In addition, I noted from this weeks Observer business news section that there are talks and seminars planned to take place on Wednesday the 17th of October at the Rhodes Centre. How do all these initiatives relate to one another and who will be responsible for the overall coordination and management on a going forward basis.

Finally, I am sure that you will agree that this is becoming very confusing to the general public and I suggest that some clarification is needed; otherwise it will give the impression that there is a lack of communication and no coherent strategy between the authorities. Also, as mentioned previously the Civic Federation are in full support of your initiative and looking forward playing an active part in the future of Bishop's Stortford.

Regards

Richard Hannah
Chairman,
Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation

Emailed reply from Tony Jackson, Leader of East Herts District Council  Top 

To: Richard Hannah
Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation
1 October 2007

Richard,

Thanks for your email.

I can understand your concern. I have, along with the Town Council, been careful to ensure we do not send out conflicting messages at this point. The town plan will be an important piece of work that will be a vital feed into the Visioning Board’s work. However, town plans take anything from 12 – 24 months to put together, so it is unlikely that there will be any immediate conflict.

I am also going to ensure that the Town Council are represented on the Vision Board as well as working with yourselves. I do agree that it is important to have a coordinated picture and message and I believe when the Board is constituted this will happen. My plans are for the Board to hold an initial meeting within the next month.

George Robertson, Director of Community & Customer Services, at East Herts will making contact with organisation over the next few days, including the Civic Federation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tony