This was followed by the ubiquitous powerpointpresentation, this time by Alex Massey, Senior Architect for Land Use Consultants (though he seemed a trifle young for such an exalted position). Up flashed the “Options” 2a, 2b and 3:
Massey explained that Bertie’s Footprint including the pergolas, the bridges and the “pavilions”, along with the southern entrance, had to be the starting point for any design in the south in order to fulfill the HLF requirements for preserving “built heritage”. He emphasised that everything else had to fit in around these elements and to make the point he showed us “The Level – blank layout for your ideas” so that the audience could clearly see said Footprint:
Massey then made something of a major faux pas when up popped the dreaded “Meisterplan von August 2010”:
This was too much for a couple of “delegates”, one from The Triangle and the other from Park Crescent, who promptly stormed out of the meeting in disgust at this brazen display of dishonesty. They had believed, somewhat over optimistically (one hesitates to say: naively), that the PPT had accepted that this design option was very much a thing of the past, and that the new way forward was to concentrate on finding a suitable design that kept the skatepark in the south as this has consistently been shown to be the most widely acceptable option.
Order restored, it was now clear to the sceptical that the di had long since been cast – all these “options” were in fact no more than window dressing whilst the PPT were continuing behind the scenes to canvas support for the original HLF plan: skatepark in the north, fancy café and water feature in the south – the standard HLF/LUC fare, in fact, just like Russell Square in London. And boy, have the PPT been given the hard sell on that one!
And so, on command, we moved on to “Exercise 2” – “delegates working in groups”. In no time Option 3 was shown to be a non-starter as it flatly contradicted the First Law of the Level Bid: that Bertie’s Footprint be unencumbered. The council’s man-in-the-skate-camp Lee Skiffington was also critical of the lack of sunlight and the potential for leaves-on-the-line. He announced that the skaters’ preference was, after all, for the North Option and that they were only entertaining the idea of a Southern Solution in order to keep the peace. He also stated that when it comes to the skatepark itself, the skaters main concern is size over substance [surely something freudian going on there – Ed.]
There followed: “Feedback from Exercise 2″…then “Group discussion to see if any consensus on option(s)”…and at last “Summary and close”. But after “Exercise 2” it all seemed very pointless.
To be continued…