What Is RevitalHythe?
Background to RevitalHythe
The Government’s Rural White Paper (November 2000) and the Market Town Initiative (MTI) was launched to address the issues facing market towns in the 21st century. Government funding was made available to support the process of completing a Snapshot, community consultation and developing an Action Plan. Hythe & Dibden Parish Council employed a Development Officer to carry out the process and subsequently made the post a permanent position to implement where possible the actions on the plan and to ensure that the long term actions kept within view.
The Action Plan
The 2008 Action Plan has been in place for ten years and many of the Actions have been completed, become policy, are still in progress or are reliant on other agencies. Over the years the presence of the Action Plan enabled us to apply for funding or gave strength to our ‘arguments’. Getting the investment of £9 million for the purchase of RAF Hythe and its conversion to Hythe Marina Park (saving 200 skilled jobs) would never have happened without the Action Plan. It is time for the Action Plan to be re-visited and a plan for the next 10 years to be formed.
Methodology and ‘Love It, Don’t Love it, I Wish Survey’
Using a similar methodology to the 2008 Plan over the last two years a ‘Love It, Don’t Love it, I Wish Survey’ has been made available in several formats, electronically via social media and email and as a paper version at a variety of events and organisations. The reason for spreading the time frame over different periods in the year was we previously found current conditions slanted the responses e.g. after snow there would be a flurry of requests for more grit bins. Many ‘Don’t Love’ were operational and were dealt with as they came in. ‘Loves’ do not require action but are an indication of what is important to the community.
Responses were grouped together in categories to clarify their meaning, for example, some wrote they ‘loved’ the Beach but some referred to the ‘Location’ of Hythe & Dibden in relation to the beach, the forest and the city.
Results of the Survey
The chart below shows the Top Ten results from the 2019 survey alongside the results from the 2008 survey. The anomalies are interesting and indicate there is an issue in perception. For example, ’Too Many Estate Agents and Charity Shops’ has moved up the chart despite there now being almost 50% less Charity Shops and Estate Agents than there were in 2008 (Vitalise, Oxfam, Albare, Faith Hope & Charity, Winged Fellowship, Mann and Co, Peter Allen, Bushnell Porter, Morris Dibbens have all gone). Reflecting the actual drop in reported Anti-Social Behaviour it has also almost dropped out of the ‘Don’t Love’ list, and new to the list is residents said they ‘love’ that they feel Hythe and Dibden is Safe, conversely the ‘need for more visible policing’ is still high. The range of shops in Hythe & Dibden is more diverse than 10 years ago yet the feeling there is a ‘lack of variety’ stays virtually the same. One of the success stories has been the improvement of cafes and restaurants which has now disappeared off the list.
The Next Ten Year Plan
Some of the issues that appear on the 2019 plan are not RevitalHythe projects, they are Strategic or appear in the Neighbourhood Plan. The remaining ‘wishes’ have been divided into the following groups:
Tourism & Transport Sustainability of Retail Generational Facilities Community Wellbeing