At the lunchtime City Corporation Residents Meeting on January 11 2023 I asked Policy chair Chris Hayward about consultation over the changes planned in Culture Mile, involving disbanding the core team, and direction being taken over by the new Destination City programme and the proposed Business Improvement District.
I asked what was the best way to engage with residents over the planned changes, since he had earlier emphasised his commitment both to Destination City and resident engagement. Chris Hayward responded to say(lightly edited - full version below):
“This is a classic example where the danger is we steamroller ahead with our own ideas as the Corporation and then 80 percent of the way along we go - oh we better ask the residents what they think - and it's almost a three-quarters baked cake, and I have said to the Town Clerk and to all the chief officers that we have to get in earlier and talk to residents, so this is a point that I'm going to make sure we take down today.”
“We will come back to you specifically on this one as to how we on this particular issue you can engage, but thank you it's a really really good point indeed”.
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As I understand it from Culture and Heritage committee discussions and other places the current Culture Mile team is really effectively disbanding in April and the drive is now going to come from Destination City and the new Business Improvement District if that is approved, and there's lots of opportunities there. I wondered if you had any ideas on how it would be best for residents to engage with the new arrangements that are emerging.
I think that's a very good question and one of the things that I have openly admitted in the past and I still say we haven't got quite right yet is our consultation on things like this. This is a classic example actually where the danger is we steamroller ahead with our own ideas as the Corporation and then 80 percent of the way along we go oh we better ask the residents what they think and it's almost a you know three-quarters baked cake and I have said to the town clerk and to all the chief officers that we have to get in earlier earlier and talk to Residents so uh this is a point that I'm going to make sure we take down today in the officers are all here they know they're under a directive certainly for me to to improve our consultation on these issues so you're right the the BID opportunity is yet to be decided and voted on as you know but it is it is a good opportunity to to move forward as is Destination City but we don't want to do these in isolation without residents input because you said how do you combine your twin passions Chris Destination City and Resident engagement when you do it through consultation you do it through engagement and listening and trying to take on board people's ideas you know elected members believe me do not have the wealth of knowledge of of on everything you know in fact we don't have a lot of knowledge on a lot some would say but you know I do think we do need to engage more so we will improve the I think we've already started to improve certainly on the planning front some of our our consultation but we are not there yet we've still we've still got to improve it so we will come back to you specifically on this one as to how we on this particular issue you can engage but thank you it's a really really good point indeed.