Things are on the up – hon­estly?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

It’s al­ways a de­light to read the Coun­cil Talk col­umn un­der the by­line of Gerry Clark­son, leader of Ash­ford coun­cil. Why is it such a de­light? Be­cause it’s al­ways up­beat. But then what­ever we write and who­ever we are, we can never to­tally ex­clude a sub­jec­tive el­e­ment.

Mr Clark­son takes great plea­sure in telling us how well every­thing is go­ing and, in his lat­est col­umn, he re­it­er­ates state­ments made pre­vi­ously re­gard­ing the health of the town centre.

I think we should al­ways be­ware of how peo­ple use sta­tis­tics to prove their ar­gu­ment.

I re­peat my pre­vi­ous con­tention that fig­ures pur­port­ing to show that we have a thriv­ing high street can be ut­terly mis­lead­ing.

Last week Mr Clark­son quoted the fig­ure for va­can­cies as a lit­tle over half a per­cent­age point bet­ter than the na­tional av­er­age.

As a coun­cil­lor said to me last week “if you want to buy a house, a hair­cut, a tat­too or a tele­phone, our high street is the perfect place to be”.

The much-vaunted Por­tas Pi­lot Scheme (re­mem­ber?) was go­ing to trans­form the town.

I will say that there has been one good thing that came out of the scheme, which is the Made in Ash­ford shop in Park Mall.

Mr Clark­son de­liv­ers the good news that, though the gov­ern­ment insists that there must be pro­vi­sion made for pri­vate sec­tor hous­ing growth, “...we en­deav­our to ex­er­cise con­trol of de­vel­op­ment numbers and sit­ing”.

So what about Chilm­ing­ton Green, we ask?

And there are a fur­ther 190 af­ford­able homes to be built. Have you ever con­sulted the in­ter­net to find out what ‘af­ford­able’ ac­tu­ally means in this con­text?

My ad­vice is, don’t – it will give you a headache and leave you none the wiser.

Mr Clark­son goes on to say that “...within its shel­tered hous­ing schemes, Far­row Court is... truly de­men­tia friendly”.

So we set out to find what, ex­actly, ‘de­men­tia friendly’ means.

I found it de­press­ing to read that the De­men­tia Ser­vice De­vel­op­ment Centre says the term is so of­ten used to cover ‘shal­low or cos­metic change.’

Let’s hope this doesn’t ap­ply here.

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