Bat & Ball Renovation: What do you want?

Sevenoaks Town Council are taking over the old station building at Bat & Ball. This will give a permanent presence at the station to improve perceptions of safety and reduce antisocial behaviour.

Their plans for the future include:

  • a cafe for station users and the local community
  • toilets
  • level access for the London bound platform

They would like help in gauging support and setting priorities. Please complete their short online survey here.


Bat & Ball Renovation: What do you want? — 7 Comments

  1. The absurdly PC nature of this survey will deter many people from responding, hence skewing the results. Indeed, the greater part of the survey has nothing to do with any of the proposed station improvements, but instead shines the spotlight on finding out everything about the participants’ status.

    It’s compulsory to give personal details including your name, e-mail address, age band, whether you’re a ‘sewing machinist’ or in an ‘organisation with under 25 employees’, or have a disability. But they won’t let you choose any ‘Prefer Not To Say’ options and there’s not even a mention of any Privacy Policy, so you haven’t a clue where all your information will end up or what they will do with it. And they’ve even managed to refer to an Act of Parliament that was repealed seven years ago…

    But at least it’s Yob Friendly – the strangely-worded questions seem to let you say you wouldn’t enjoy using the station so much if the renovation reduced the level of anti-social behaviour.

    I suppose we should just be grateful that they don’t ask for full details of your sexuality, salary and savings !

  2. @Gerry Sevenoaks Town Council tell us that the demographic questions are required for the Heritage Lottery Fund – who STC hope will provide around 80% of the funding for this £1m project.

    That having been said, the really politically correct form of all these questions are normally in the form “Do you consider yourself to be …?” rather than “Are you …?” (as has been done only for disability).

    In addition, as you suggest, asking the demographic questions *and* asking for identity creates a collection of sensitive personal data that STC will need to safeguard and for which they will have to account.

  3. It’s strange how the survey manages to be both very politically correct and very politically incorrect, all at the same time.

    It goes to great lengths and granularity to include people who are Bangladeshi, Pakistani, White and Black Caribbean, etc. That’s fine, because it sends out the message that it’s fully inclusive… except that it then spectacularly shoots itself in the foot by completely excluding all those who are LGBT (and who might feel unsafe at a lonely unstaffed station known for anti-social behaviour !)

    The survey is also very ageist: no-one a day under 15 is allowed to complete it. Tough luck for many who attend Knole Academy: they’re excluded as not worthy of any consideration, despite being an obvious target group who might be expected to buy a coffee or two from the cafe when their trains are delayed or cancelled.

    Similarly, the age bands are prejudiced against older people. The bands start with a 10-year interval, but then everyone 65 and up is lumped together as being ‘over the hill’ and not worth bothering about. However, the needs of a 65 year old and someone 20 or even 25 years older may well be very different.

    So if you have to be ultra PC in order to get funding, do it properly and make sure you’re consistent; mess it up and you end up sending out all the wrong messages.

    Above all, the survey is such a missed opportunity. It could have asked participants which mobility, hearing and sight impairments etc make it difficult or impossible for them to use Bat and Ball station, and whether they’d like to be kept up to date about any developments. But instead, the disability question has only a blunt Yes / No answer without even a box for additional information.

    STC need to be far more imaginative and to consider whether their new café / community centre could offer assistance (in conjunction with Southeastern/ Thameslink) for people with disabilities, e.g. a simple porter service to help them on and off trains (perhaps by phoning shortly beforehand), preferably including use of a portable ramp for wheelchair users.

  4. Dear Gerry, Sevenoaks Town Council would like to thank you for your comments, and would like to respond to a few of them: One of The Heritage Lottery Fund’s requirements is that we ask a number of specific demographic questions which must fall under their guidelines in order to qualify for a grant to restore the Bat and Ball Station Building. While Sevenoaks Town Council understands the issues raised with the various questions, unfortunately, to abide by the HLF’s requirements we must ask them, and we must ask them in the way that is required by the HLF as part of their grant application. What this also means is that we can’t add in demographic questions that are not required by the Heritage Lottery Fund, such as those to do with sexual orientation. We hope you understand and apologise for any inconvenience.

  5. I use Bat and Ball once a week and the atmosphere is getting worse, in the evening, thanks to the large group of pot-smoking teenagers who hang around the station, arguing and swearing.
    Some nights it had been so bad my son has had to come with me.
    I have complained to the rail company and the local police (no reply from the police) but the situation has not improved

  6. @Dianne Thanks for letting us know about this. We will have a word with the British Transport Police.

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