Observer Comment: Special meeting could help mend a few fences

THE move to hold a public scrutiny meeting to discuss Rother’s £5.6million seafront regeneration project has the potential to do much towards mending fences between the council and the section of the community which has always opposed the scheme.

As pointed out by Independent councillor Stuart Earl, who proposed the idea at Monday’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, many have felt the council has simply not listened to them over Next Wave.

Some might argue this is akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted - ie too little too late - but there is still every chance this extra meeting will help fix issues which remain outstanding.

While the works to the seafront are now complete, there remains a tidying-up or ‘snagging’ period where the contractors are responsible for correcting any flaws with no cost to Rother.

This period lasts up until December 2012 and the council has a comprehensive list of faults, but hopefully feedback from the special meeting will help ensure a clean job at the end of the day.

It’s unclear at the moment as to the specific agenda and format of this meeting - Rother’s councillors and officers are still working on that.

Chances for the public to speak, as well as invites to those ‘in the know’ to answer questions, would broaden the scope of the scrutiny committee nicely in this instance.

It’s also a chance for the committee to reflect on what the council might have got wrong on Next Wave and what it could learn for the future - and also an opportunity to consider the aspects of the scheme which went well.

The fact that the motion to hold this meeting was carried shows the Independent influence on the council is making a difference, as voted for in last year’s elections.

Hopefully this will answer many questions surrounding the scheme, and help Bexhill feel that its voice has been heard.