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Will STFC BILLD here?

Britwell & Northborough Regeneration Plans
by Louise on 24/03/2004

Louise gives her comments on the latest developments in the ongoing Kennedy Park saga.

Britwell and Northborough Regeneration Plans


Does The Future Of STFC Lie In Britwell?

Slough Borough Council has been looking at ways to regenerate the Kennedy Park/Wentworth Avenue areas of Britwell. One suggestion has been for Slough Town Football Club to build a new ground on eleven acres of what SBC have referred to as “waste ground” near Kennedy Park. This would not in itself qualify as “regenerating” the area, but it could prove the catalyst that leads to more schemes encompassing a much wider scope.

Slough Borough Council hope that the Britwell stadium proposal could provide a means of attracting funds in the form of grants and private investment to finance the wider regeneration of the area in question. Suggestions for the area include improving leisure facilities, shopping areas, parks, open spaces, lighting and neighbourhood improvements. A feasibility study has been promised later this year to determine whether a regeneration scheme centred on the football ground is viable financially, socially and environmentally.

Slough Town Football club are currently ground sharing with near neighbours and rivals, Windsor and Eton FC, at their Stag Meadow ground. A new stadium would put an end to years of uncertainty for STFC and provide the club with a long awaited permanent home.

A report in the Slough Express dated 18th March 2004, gives details of the initial results of a survey carried out by the Britwellian Independent Liberal and Liberal Democrat Group (BILLD). The BILLD issued a questionnaire to all 3,700 households in Britwell asking what residents would like to see on Kennedy Park or the field next to it. The options listed were a football stadium for 6,000 – 10,000, shops, offices, an hotel, car parking, houses, a road linking Britwell to Northborough, a sports centre for local residents, a swimming pool a play centre for the children of Britwell or a park with flowers, shrubs, trees and seats. Residents were also asked for their own suggestions as to how they would like to improve Kennedy Park.

On 16th March 2004, the BILLD announced the initial results but restricted this only to the question specifically asking whether residents wanted a “Football stadium for 6,000 – 10,000” :

Replies received 563
Yes to a Football Stadium 100 
No to a Football Stadium 393 
Unmarked 70

Despite the poor response, the Slough Express reports that local BILLD councillors have expressed “surprise” at the result. Cllr Paul Janik (BILLD) told the Slough Express “I didn’t think that the anti-football stadium feeling would be so high but now we have the results we will be sending them into the Town Hall”. 

The Slough Express goes on to state that the findings of the survey differ from the Labour Party’s survey carried out in September 2003, which showed a response in favour of the proposal.

The leader of Slough Borough Council, Cllr Rob Anderson told the Slough Express that he felt the difference in the results was explainable “The way the BILLD have presented the plan is that there’s going to be a big concrete block on Kennedy Park, but what people don’t realise is that it will be on waste ground at the back of it”.

To find out more about the scheme and to register your views on the proposal, log on to http://www.slough.gov.uk/CommunityLife/britwell.asp.

 

Editorial Comment

Let me start by making it clear that the following views are my own personal opinion and are not in any way connected with Slough Town Football Club or any other organisation or individual.

I read the article in the Slough Express dated 18th March 2004 with great interest. A large front page, banner headline proclaiming “’Footy’ plan gets a kick in the grass”.

The article starts by telling us that “plans to build a state-of-the-art football stadium on a run down estate” have been “rocked” as “70% of homeowners do not want it”…food for thought indeed.

The article goes on to say that the BILLD issued a questionnaire to “all 3,700 homes in Britwell”. It then states, “563 responded”…

Hang on a minute…3700 questionnaires but only 563 replies? That doesn’t seem a lot…

Lets put that into mathematical terms. That’s 15.22%. Only 15.22% of the households that received surveys actually responded.

Let’s look at the figures released by the BILLD :

563 replies received in total
100 in favour of the proposed stadium
393 against of the proposed stadium
70 unmarked papers

Now the Slough Express and the BILLD are telling us that “70% of householders” do not want a football stadium. When you look at the actual figures involved they tell a different story….

393 replied saying they were against the stadium. That is indeed 69.8% of those that REPLIED, but in terms of those who were ASKED it is only 10.62%.

So what the survey really tells us is that of the 3700 households in Britwell who were asked specifically whether they wanted a football stadium, only 10.62% stated they did not. We know that 100 out of the 563 were in favour of the stadium (17.76% of those who replied and 2.7% of those actually asked). We are only in possession of the stated views of a mere 493 households out of a potential 3700 (13.32%)…. we have no idea what 86.68% of the people in Britwell think about the matter.

A somewhat different slant on what the Slough Express said.

What all of this actually says to me is that either the residents of Britwell do not care about what happens in their local area or they do not feel that they know enough about what is proposed in order to state an opinion.

The Slough Express also goes on to say that the BILLD results contrasted with a survey carried out in September 2003 by the Labour Party in which results indicated, “60% of homes were in favour”. Cllr Rob Anderson has explained this by suggesting that the BILLD had not really made it clear that the proposed stadium was intended to be built on “waste ground” and not on Kennedy Park itself.

Now, some may argue that the BILLD survey is a representative sample of the views of the local population and that the matter should rest there. No football stadium. Most people don’t want one. End of the matter. But what about this contradictory Labour Party survey that says 60% of households do want a football stadium?

Someone is getting their wires crossed.

I think that despite this much trumpeted latest survey that we are no nearer to REALLY knowing what the public think than we were before it was done….

SBC have promised a feasibility study to be carried out under contract sometime this year… for my part, I hope that this will PROPERLY inform ALL residents and their local representatives of EXACTLY what is intended, the wider implications and how these schemes will be financed…and that furthermore ALL Britwell residents (not just one questionnaire per household so as to allow for differing views) get the chance to state their opinion about these important local issues.
I hope for their sake that the people of Britwell are allowed to make their own, informed choice and not be pawns in someone else’s game to be manipulated by others….

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