Monday 26th February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

STDB Critique

January 7, 2024 Letters

Scarborough Town Deal Board Critique

A Letter to the Editor from former Scarborough resident TERRY WADE, offering an informed opinion on the crisis of credibility facing the present membership of the Scarborough Town Deal Board.

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Dear Editor

The end of this pitifully ignorant and poorly led SCARBOROUGH TOWN DEAL BOARD (STDB) is now in sight for all to see. How it ends is for its so-called chair, Mr David Kerfoot CBE DL to decide; how it ends and how soon, and how he might extricate himself from the ignominy of it as he ponders its dismantling and reformation, albeit in a different format.

He could go with some face left to save – after achieving absolutely nothing in delivering either what this town needs or wants and all that he was happy to remain blissfully unaware of throughout the entirety of the (almost) 3-year period since its inception and hisappointment/installation by whoever it was who chose him to be chairing such an influential group that had within its grasp the chance to make life so different for so many.

Those who chose him and the rest of the STDB membership, none of whom have any understanding or links with the communities they opted to influence, in the implementation of their decision-making powers, must now bow out.

The BIG question is who chose him and his board?

He chose to sit on his hands and ignore experienced and knowledgeable voices but listened intently instead to those who spoon-fed him from the SBC Regeneration Team who, with their own agenda, were of the self-belief of what the town needed and how best to get the most money out of the money pit.

The “money pit” is the South Bay in the Old Town; control of the money pit in the North Bay was quite firmly (and remains) not within the control of SBC/NYC to give away. Private enterprise has seen to that opportunity. Whilst under the control of SBC, it was squandered away by CEO Nick Edwards and his legal “eagle/budgie”, Lisa Dixon, who, amongst others, will surely fall from grace very publicly – and rightly so – in the coming months, if not years.

Meanwhile, the Town Centre is dying, with over 100 empty shops. And a thriving seafront not in need of any investment whatsoever,  was going to get it whether it wanted it or not – FOR retail.

Harbour infrastructure has not been a priority for decades…as is as obvious as a wart on the end of Edwards’ nose. The harbourside and indeed even the lighthouse are now under a severe threat of collapse through decades of neglect. STDB money is not intended to cover repairs

I understand, from well-informed sources, that there have been meetings between David Kerfoot and the local community most disaffected by these plans. These being overwhelmingly in the oldest part of the town where local seafront businesses are said to be thriving and where he (Kerfoot) was accompanied by his spoon-feeder, former SBC and now appointed to NYC Regeneration Manager, Mr Alex Richards, perched close by and providing prompts and reassurance, keeping him on track, as it were.

Innovation and opportunity are at the heart of what the harbour needs so urgently and are both in abundance, yet still not on the table or even discussed constructively within the STDB discussions – and no engagement whatsoever from the STDB Chair who is acutely aware of both.

On speaking to a reliable source who has intimate knowledge of these meetings,  and in fairness to Mr Richard Flinton (who inherited this entire mess and should by now realise that it is within his power to resolve and make sense of the chaos and end the furore, or whatever it is called nowadays.

Enthusiasm and a willingness to accept new projects and proposals should – and must – be shown to exist that will assist the communities most affected by the proposals.

Anyone reading this only must look to Catterick to see how their vision was realised with their £20 million investment in a new town square – just recently announced.

HARD TO BELIEVE BUT

Richmondshire must feel very fortunate to have Rishi Sunak as a resident, perhaps a seaside retreat should be considered by him?

COINCIDENTAL OR?

Of course, the less cynical would view this announcement as being pure coincidence with Council Leader Carl Les receiving honours in the 2023 New Year Honours List

Also recently announced is the release of a further £20 million of Town Deal funding under a different title and a different format and requirements in terms of how the Board is to be chosen and decisions made on behalf of the communities that these quangos were set up for and have clearly failed under Kerfoot and his inept and delusional cronies in both SBC and now NYC.

Extracts from the recent UK Gov Guidance publication: I would urge you all to read.

Rishi Sunak

First, we’re putting towns back into the hands of local people, so that they can decide on local priorities and what’s best for the long-term future of the places where they live. Each town will have a new Town Board made up of local community leaders and employers, who will draw up their town’s Long-Term Plan for the next 10 years. 

We’re putting towns back into the hands of local people, so that they can decide on local priorities and what’s best for the long-term future of the places where they live. Each town will have a new Town Board made up of local community leaders and employers, who will draw up their town’s Long-Term Plan for the next 10 years. 

(This next paragraph will surely resonate with NYC)

Town Boards should be transparent with local people throughout the programme as to how they are investing money and using their powers, working closely with the local authority. We encourage Town Boards to run themselves in a way that facilitates community-led decisions and the space to think about things differently. Such as:

    • having meetings in a community space or setting, instead of council offices or public sector premises
    • holding open meetings for local people to observe and inviting those who aren’t traditionally involved, including young people.

The sooner this present Scarborough Town Deal Board goes the better it will be for everyone. Surely the red card must be shown to Messrs Kerfoot and team.

The embarrassment should fall where it is most due with Kerfoot and Flinton both still apparently intent on pursuing the original goals, as set out in the original plans and as set in motion by ,the delusional former SBC Leader Steve Siddons.

With regard to Mr Richard Flinton now pleading there is no financial envelope in which to change his chosen course, of course, there is not; the money has been spent.

By now “we”, by virtue of the former SBC and now NYC, now own Pavilion House and with it the Comet building, along with the Shakespeare public house and flatlets along with Travelodge and who knows what else we have yet to learn about.

There will be, sadly and unfortunately, collateral damage in the form of Mr Rudi Barman, brought in to placate the harbourside community most affected by the West Pier fiasco  and to be what they (STDB) neededto be the patsy for the entire debacle….they were wrong, he turned out to be not only challenging – certainly not to be the patsy they expected him to be.

Well done, that man.

Finally, Mr Kerfoot CBE DL – Rapeseed oil salesman, consider your position and please announce very soon your departure from your position as STDB Chair. I would also urge your fellow Board members to follow suit and allow something and someone fit and proper to take your self-serving places. 

Most Sincerely,

Terry Wade

Yorkshire resident and frequent visitor to a town sadly neglected in oh-so-many ways.

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