Town Meeting on Friday 8 January

It hasn’t been all that well publicised so far but a town meeting will be held in Hythe on Friday night to discuss the proposal to build a new swimming pool on The Green.

Six residents have requested the gathering to allow members of the public to have their say on the matter – although no decision will be made on the night and councillors may not be present.

It will be held on Friday, January 8 at Hythe Town Hall from 7.30pm.

We believe that one of the aims of the meeting might be to call a referendum (town poll) regarding the site of the new leisure centre.

Initially this seems like a good idea since Shepway have never held a proper public consultation about the preferred site for the new facility but we have a lot of concerns.

Firstly , Hythe Town Council will have to foot the bill for the referendum. This could cost thousands of pounds. And yet the result won’t be binding on either Hythe Town Council nor Shepway District Council.

And secondly it is a very risky strategy. Should the result come out in favour of either PP or The Green (as opposed to NQ which is probably the hope) then Shepway will use the result to justify taking one or other of our open spaces.

It is unlikely that HTC will issue polling cards so many of the public will not be aware of the referendum which won’t therefore be truely representative. Residents on the Marsh who have a genuine interest in where the new pool is built won’t have a vote.

Many members of the public don’t have access to all the information for what has become a complex situation and so are not in a position to make an informed decision.

So on balance we wouldn’t support a call for a referendum but we’d be interested in your thoughts in case the issue does arise.