02 February 2017
We are all disappointed and frustrated with the recent planning decision regarding the YWT Visitor Centre. In some quarters this frustration has turned into anger and quite a large number of people have asked SBOT to sever all links with the YWT. It is a condition of the approval of the planning application that YWT establish a local Steering Group, consisting of supporters and opponents, in an attempt to build bridges with the local community and SBOT has been invited to send a representative to these meetings. It is not yet clear how effective our presence will be and only time will tell. We as SBOT also have a duty of care to liaise with all local and national bodies on behalf of you our members to ensure that our voice is heard and to have the best chance of influencing change when needed.
Your committee, after much deliberation, has voted to keep the dialogue open with YWT and also to attend these Steering Group meetings. It was felt that SBOT Ltd is best placed to hold them to account and ensure that they fulfil all of their obligations which would prove impossible to effect if we chose to leave the Group. We hope that both the local community and Friends do not see this decision as a betrayal of their valued support. If, in due course, it transpires that we are powerless and seen as an irrelevance then we shall review our position but for the time being we feel that more could be achieved by maintaining a dialogue. We hope that our supporters can understand our decision, even if they disagree with it, and that we can still continue to move forward together and take the Observatory to even greater heights.
Chairman of Spurn Bird Observatory Trust Ltd