SIR: I think it was Cllr Tod who coined the phrase “Silver Hill Fiasco” in 2016 when the city council terminated the contract with Henderson after wasting 12 years going nowhere. But what he and the rest of Cabinet have unwittingly just voted through, is heading the same way and will need another epithet – Calamity, Disaster and Fiasco 2 all spring to mind.

I say “unwittingly”, because no-one in Cabinet seems to have a clue about the implications of supporting a plan which is far too complicated and restrictive, and which will result in very little effective competition from developers for this regeneration project. Other implications include the absence of imagination, transparency, public engagement and the worst possible financial outcome.

Councillors have been told that the site will produce little value – exactly how much, we are not allowed to know. For the best site in one of the most attractive cities in the south-east, this doesn’t tally particularly as the numbers exclude the cost of archaeological excavations. Councillors have also been told that the choice of developer will then rely heavily on the advice of JLL, who have already been paid many hundreds of thousands of pounds and who, I suspect, will be on for a lot more fees as the project progresses. The plan puts all the cards in the hands of the developer and an agent. Some property folk might see ample opportunity for mischief, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

The issue of the site’s potentially outstanding archaeology is still being inadequately considered, and the plan simply regards its preservation as being a “developer’s risk”. This does not reflect how developers will actually react, unless they’ve been given a nod and wink not to worry about archaeology. No, Council, you are not going to get away with that.

Every sentence and sinew of the current plan has déjà vu written into it, and though they have been told that there are better ways to progress the project, this is not a Cabinet, the longer serving members of which all supported Henderson, that wants to listen or learn.

Kim A Gottlieb,

East Stratton