Time to keep an eye on what the 'planners' plan for Deal
25th January 2011
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Dover District Council have appointed consultants GVA to come up with a regeneration plan for Deal. Call me cynical, but I'm not excited about that prospect one little bit. And I wonder how much they will be paying?

Looking at GVA's client "showcase" and their portfolio, I don't see anything even similar to Deal and my heart sinks.

GVA's comments were: “We are delighted to have been appointed by DDC. Our experience on similar projects means we are equipped with the vision and expertise to deliver a viable solution that corresponds with the long term needs of the local community. By establishing development foundations that are long term, Deal can look to unlock further opportunities without the constraints that currently exist.”

Excuse me? What does that twaddle mean! "Equipped with the vision and expertise" - their vision for what? Deal? How can they possibly have a vision for Deal? Do they live here? Are they part of this community?

DDC's press release states: "The current strategy is to rely on the redevelopment of the former Betteshanger Colliery to the north west of Deal, and a redevelopment of Minter's Yard in North Deal."   It also states that "a key component of this study will be to involve and engage with partners and the local community at differrent stages in the project."

So I think we all need to keep a close eye on this and make sure that "the local community", ie we, get to have a very thorough input at every stage.

If planners, developers and council officers had had their way in the 1960's Deal would have been scarred beyond recognition and our lovely town and thriving community would not have evolved as it has into this place we all love. It was the Deal Society - members of the local community - who successfully fought the plans and thank goodness they did.

I think it's time to look back at that campaign and remind ourselves that consultants and planners may very well have quite different aspirations for our town than those of us who live here. We need to watch them very carefully.

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