A response to Shaney’s letter from Pier Trust Chairman, Doreen Stone (11th Jan 2013)
Shaney and I met up yesterday to discuss her open letter about CCC’s possible leasing of the pier platform and I think she does have a cause for grievance that a concession of this magnitude was not advertised for tenders. We agreed with her that although anyone has a right to put in for planning permission on a site whether they own it or not, the opportunity to lease the platform should have been opened to everyone.
As Chairman of the Pier Trust, I assured her that at no point had the Pier Trust been involved or consulted about Mr Cain putting in for planning permission to build a mini golf course there. None of the trustees knew anything about it until we were told in late November, nine days before the AGM by Dawn Hudd who made it clear to me that CCC were under no obligation to consult the Trust as the Memorandum of Understanding had lapsed on June 30th 2012. At this meeting, we were given a single page artist’s concept sketch (which was not in the public domain at that time) to discuss with the Board.
The trustees’ first reaction was disappointment that it would prevent us implementing our own plans for a café, a community stage and an income from concessions on the platform including roller skating, markets and a weddings’ venue. However, as I am sure David Shepherd, our then Events Manager would confirm for me, during the summer the Trust met with so many problems including Health and Safety, stewarding, submission forms specific to each event to be submitted three months before the date of the event – that we were never able to run the farmers’ and other markets, the art weekend, the performance and music events we had hoped to organise once the pier was ready for us in June.
Also, in our 2011 -2012 business plan, we had included concessions within our income calculations. However, although we returned detailed comments and our approval for at least 6 concessions, we were never given any feedback on CCC’s final choice of only 2 concessions and we certainly didn’t receive any income from them.
So, in the light of our awareness of how little we had been able to deliver on the platform in 2012, a majority of the Board began to see the reciprocal value of a well-run attraction on the platform to increase the footfall to our retail beach hut village we are still intending to build along the leg. Three trustees requested and met – all 6 were invited to attend – David Cain mid-December (after the AGM) to find out more about his proposal and whether he would involve the Trust if CCC decide to go ahead with his proposal. We were not aware that the leasing had not been advertised so that others like Shaney could also apply.
This was our position and how we came to it when I sent out the members’ Christmas Newsletter.