Thanet Star

Right building - wrong location

The failed Broadstairs Community Centre was the right thing to build.

The problem with the Broadstairs Town Council's failed Community Centre is not that they tried to build it. Broadstairs could do with a more community focused space.

The problem was not that they tried to update thier plans to include Age Concern although some insightful planning could have braught them onboard to start with.

The problem was not the ammount they spent planning - although they did spend far too much getting the planning not so far.

The problem was not even that they tried to build it in the park even though this was the worst possible location that they could have chosen. Honestly it is harder to think of a worse place to locate the building. That was not the problem though.

The problem was not that Labour (and to an extent Liberal Demorcats) opposed and questioned the plans. When you have the balance of power across a number of councils this is not something to worry about.

The problem is that there was no community buy in.

At no point was it safe to say that the people of Broadstairs were saying "by jove, we need a community centre".

The building comittee (or whatever group was pushing the project) could have gotten a lot more milage by selling the community the idea that a community centre would be a good thing even if this meant spending less on consultations and meetings.

One simply has to look at Millmead Hall which is a different story. The community there were saying the equivilant of "look at this bally old scout hut! Something needs to be done here and quickly, by golly."

So when Thanet Council came along and started renivation works on the building everyone was really pleased. The result is a community focused building that is well used and popular.

This community buy-in is what was missing from the Broadstairs project and because it was missing Labour had a a free hand to bring a stop to the project without risking a single vote. After all the Conservative party members were unlikely to vote for Labour anyway.

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