And so, the room was packed with 2 councillors, 3 council employees and about 17 mostly familiar faces (a small room indeed) and the show began.
The council Project Team started their presentation with their 3 priorities: 1. it’s HLF money or nothing, 2. they want to wrap it up as quickly as possible, and 3. they’re going to Carry on Consulting (somewhat at odds with the asap priority). They stressed that they had absolutely no preference to the position of the skatepark in such a vehement manner that one could almost have believed them. The Triangle Community Group accepted the offer of making a presentation and outlined that group’s objections to any building on the north end and then the B & H Skateparks Association read out their mission statement. Keep the Level Green and Friends of the Level declined the generous offer of a presentation – presentation to whom? There was no one present who was undecided and most were against the northern build.
Then began Q&AT conducted by the two councillors, with the the bulk of the questions coming from the rep. of the B&HSA, Jack Forester, who did a splendid job of relentlessly strafing the hapless Jan Jonkers and Linda Anglin (Project Team) with questions which had them wriggling most uncomfortably. Notably he reeled off a list of organisations and groups opposed to building the skatepark in the north, including the B&HSA, and asked why this opposition was ignored, and the answer was that these were, in effect, just the views of individuals and could be disregarded, in effect. [So there you have it: the only recorded support for the northern build which comes from the 2009 questionnaire of 215 persons is more relevant and noteworthy than all the groups who have voiced their opposition to it plus the 600+ people who have signed the petition against the build.] – Final score: B&HSA 11 – B&HPT 0.
Conclusion: curate’s egg again. Why? Because, while the Project Team had no intention of being honest with their answers, yet they did get nailed on a few points such as the plan IS to have a café with seating and they have to have Bertie’s Beastly Bits as the token heritage structure despite the space it wastes. So the punters gleaned a bit of information, including that the councillors are right behind the Project Team (neutral? schneutral), but as to influencing any decision making, the Project Team will be even more determined to devise a form of consultation that supports their iffy plans.