The Rationale for The Trust Being Wound Up.
The Trust has been represented on the Haddington Town Centre Steering Group since 2017. In May 2018 we were invited to comment on progress with the project and specifically on proposed key design principles, developed to shape the future design solution.
The Trust believed at that time that everyone agreed that something needed to be done to improve Haddington’s town centre. However, we always knew it would not be easy to achieve a solution which pleased everyone. Both the “Save Haddington’s On Street Parking” and the recent Whittinghame Drive transport and “parking hub campaigns”, and social media discussions highlighted very real issues that affect those using the town centre.
It is clear that some local people, community groups and businesses feel that their opinions are not being taken into account and they, like the Trust, feel that there has been no strategic integrated plan presented to the interested parties. The principle of having a comprehensive integrated strategic plan applies to the whole “Haddington Town Centre Project”. We believe that this must be the community’s project and time must be taken to allow all opinions to be heard.
The aims and objectives detailed in the Articles of Association of the Trust have already been through one evolution from its initial creation supporting the development of the ‘Vision for Haddington Town Centre’ with a focus on improvements to the fabric and operation of the town centre. In pursuit of this the Trust assumed a role as one of the community groups represented on the Town Centre Steering Group, and the Trust was most recently seen as a potential vehicle for securing funding for town centre improvements where grants could not be awarded to a local authority / community council.
We have been disappointed however, that the Steering Group has not met since last year and during this time a series of specific proposals have been brought forward by ELC for car parking and traffic management improvements, which are not part of an overall strategic plan. We believe it’s really important that the Steering Group is maintained as the principal vehicle for the community to engage with the Council and consider changes to Haddington Town Centre, ensuring that all groups are fairly represented.
All of us know that Haddington is undergoing significant change, with over 1000 new houses and new retail developments located to the west of the town that will bring benefits, but also community uncertainty.
It is therefore, essential that further change to the Town Centre happens within an agreed strategic overview for Haddington that sets out the long term plan for change. The transition and how the town moves towards this new plan are both critical to be able to bring the community on board with these changes.
However, it has become clear that the Trust will not in fact be required as a funding vehicle for any town centre improvements and with the town centre project now stalled, the Trust’s board believes that the primary reason for the Trust’s existence has gone.
The board has debated alternative uses for the Trust over several meetings within the confines of the existing Articles of Association, but with limited personal capacity to take on new projects within the small existing board membership it is now clear that the Trust as it currently stands is no longer required and there has been no community or member interest so far in using it for other purposes. The winding up of the existing Trust of course would not mean that a community trust in Haddington could not be created again in the future for a new purpose.