Public consultations could be so much better if they started the conversation earlier

Let’s design in collaboration with the people who care about the outcomes the most.

As planners in the construction world, we’re changing the places people live in. That’s bigger than some people realise. You need to respect how members of the public feel about their area and give due consideration to their opinions. It can be an emotive topic for residents when the environment in which they live, work and or socialise is changing and it’s quite easy for consultants with an objective viewpoint to brush off often-valid concerns.

I’m from Newcastle-under-Lyme, right next to Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke is made up of six smaller towns and I’ve observed many of the city’s struggles in becoming a competitive city, especially with Manchester and Birmingham so nearby. When it came to choosing my undergraduate dissertation topic, I was interested in how Stoke had been trying to market itself in this way, contrasted with how residents identified with the city. This has resulted in considerable tension and upset amid the local residents who feel there has been a lack of developer engagement with them.

This isn’t just a UK issue either. During my masters, I researched consultation and resident engagement within a planning system reform in Toronto, Canada. The reform looked into improving resident engagement among other things, but plans weren’t as clear as they could have been; there was an element of miscommunication and residents couldn’t fully get behind the reform. From a resident’s point of view, with developments and regeneration projects, it can feel like public consultation is just something we have to go through; especially at the early stages.

There’s a lot that can be done. While traditional public consultation exhibitions have their place, they don’t tend to foster a good relationship with communities, as plans seem so finalised. You can still present that final polished article later, but an earlier step that is less intensive, less arduous, and probably less expensive, can prove quite valuable. Having an open discussion rather than a presentation at the earlier stages could help make our cities greater and reduce conflict, making people more excited about changing their environment for the better.

Some companies want to project their image as a big corporate brand with perfect, beautiful, polished exhibition boards, but in reality, this can give the impression that the community has missed its opportunity to voice their views and concerns.

The next generation of residents and workers are key to breaking down some of these barriers, making it critical to engage with them on developments. This group of young people can be more politically aware in some ways. There is more of a campaign culture and a culture for residents and young people to get involved in issues that they feel passionate about. The newest recruits joining the industry are eager to promote good planning and construction, especially given the housing crisis and the fact that a lot of these people are struggling themselves to get on the property ladder and would like to engage in developments to make sure there are more entry-level homes, for instance.

Young people outside the construction industry also recognise the need for development; and they want to help shape it. Those already well established in the industry can be useful in facilitating that, not only for the benefit of the younger generation but for the wider community overall.

There’s more social awareness around making sure that we develop infrastructure correctly and respect what’s already there. But there’s also an awareness of the future, especially in terms of sustainability. If you can consult on those matters as well, and design in collaboration with the people who care about the outcomes the most, then you will end up with properties and developments that should hopefully be beloved for many, many years to come.

Annabel Le Lohé was speaking to Jamie Harris

What’s your view? What more can organisations do to engage with their audiences? Are public consultations in line with the times and what offerings could improve the approach to public consultation and engagement activities?

Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @ConsultMovement or share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 24 January 2019 in Building. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

MP refers Bournemouth A338 junction plan to government

Plans to redesign the road network near Bournemouth’s main hospital have been referred to the Secretary of State.

Bournemouth Borough Council is due to decide on its application to build a new link road and junction from the A338 Spur Road on Monday.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has asked local government secretary James Brokenshire to call in the decision because of the council’s “bias”.

The council said it was “disappointed at the lateness of the decision”.

In his letter to Mr Brokenshire, Mr Ellwood said the council should not be allowed to determine the application, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He wrote: “Bournemouth Borough Council is the applicant, landowner and decision-maker.

“Many, including myself, have argued that this process is flawed and has led to inevitable and unavoidable bias by the council.”

‘Much-needed access’

Bournemouth head of highways Gary Powell said: “After nearly two years of extensive public consultation on the Wessex Fields plans we are extremely disappointed at the lateness of the decision to refer this matter to the Secretary of State.

“Backed by central government funding, this scheme will provide a much-needed second access to Royal Bournemouth Hospital, unlock a major economic development site, as well as ease congestion in the future.”

The scheme’s first phase involves the creation of a southbound exit east of the hospital.

The second, which Mr Ellwood opposes, is the construction of a flyover to form a northbound connection.

The plans were recommended for approval by consultants Blueprint Planning which is acting as planning officer to “aid capacity” at the council.

Head of planning Mark Axford said if the application was approved on Monday a decision notice could not be issued until the Secretary of State had decided whether to call it in.

What’s your view? What flaws have you seen in a planning or consultation process? How can applications be improved?

Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @ConsultMovement or share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 24 January 2019 on BBC News. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

High Court rejects environmental challenge to OxCam Expressway

The claim, brought forward by Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, criticised the government’s failure to assess the environmental impact of the project.

The High Court has refused permission for Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) claim against the government regarding the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. The claim, issued in the High Court in November 2018, challenged the government’s failure to commission a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) as part of the investment project in the “Growth Corridor” which includes the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

The Expressway will be a direct motorway link between Oxford and Cambridge. In development since 2016, the Expressway is part of a £5.5bn project which would see major developments in the “brain-belt”, the area between Oxford and Cambridge. An “ambitious integrated programme of infrastructure, housing, business investment and development” was announced in the government’s 2017 Autumn Budget for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, and will also include the building of one million homes by 2050.

BBOWT, which manages 88 nature reserves across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and has a membership of 52,000, has the backing of The Wildlife Trusts nationally as well as support from the River Thame Conservation Trust in its challenge to the government. Witness statements supporting their case have been provided by organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. In November 2018, the Trust launched a fundraising page to help cover legal fees, raising over £33,000 from public donations.

Green Party MEP for South East England Keith Taylor also challenged the plans in October 2018, expressing concerns due to the potential environmental impact and the lack of public consultation.

Following the High Court decision, Matthew Stanton, Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy at BBOWT commented: “We do not regard this as the end of the legal process, and we will apply for the court to revisit this decision at an oral hearing. We are resolute in our determination to protect wildlife from the impact of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

“A Strategic Environmental Assessment is required under European law for schemes that impact on the environment such as this. This means the true environmental impact has not been properly considered, and the public has been denied the opportunity to fully scrutinise the implications of the scheme.

“The government has committed to leave the environment in a better state than they found it, but it is unclear how the Expressway and its potential impact on protected habitats is compatible with this ambition.”

Tessa Gregory, partner at the law firm Leigh Day which represented BBOWT, said that the High Court decision is “not the end of the process. We will now renew the application for permission to be heard at an oral hearing, where the grounds can be argued in front of a judge and we hope the decision will be overturned.”

In a report released on 12th September 2018, Highways England stated: “We are committed to finding solutions that have the least impact and avoid, minimise or mitigate the impact on the natural environment.”

The National Infrastructure Commission, who released a report in 2017 calling for such investment in the “brain-belt” area, recommend that the transport links should be completed by 2030. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has publicly backed the project, arguing that improved road connections would ease congestion and therefore improve air quality.

But Steve Dawe, Communications Officer at No Expressway Alliance, highlighted the potential for further legal challenges and delays in responding to the BBOWT’s setback: “We have yet to see any consultation on the principle of having this road or its associated development corridor. It is quite likely other legal challenges will follow, especially when the route is finally chosen after consultation on routes in the Autumn. The Expressway is unacceptable on any route.”

What’s your view? Is public consultation used by campaigners as a tool to legally challenge infrastructure developments? How can developers give the public the opportunity to fully scrutinise the implications of a scheme without delaying development or realisation of benefits?

Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @ConsultMovement or share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 25 January 2019 on the Varsity. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

 

Future of Ontario Place needs careful consideration

News of the recent announcement that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as well as Infrastructure Ontario intend to release an Expression of Interest to seek development concepts for Ontario Place has some special interest groups gravely concerned about the lack of public consultation and the future of the site.

“It needs to be revitalized but it certainly does not need to be demolished,” said Ken Greenberg, an urban planner and a board member of Waterfront for All, a not-for-profit organization advocating for the waterfront from Etobicoke to Scarborough.

“The government is saying that every single thing except the Budweiser Stage could be removed and that alarmed people so we held a rally at Metro Hall on Jan. 15.”

The 155-acre Ontario Place site, owned by the provincial government, includes the Cinesphere, which reopened as an IMAX theatre in 2017, pods, the Budweiser Stage, a marina, Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, which opened in 2017.

On Jan. 18, Michael Tibollo, minister of tourism, culture and sport, announced the government will encourage potential partners from around the world to submit proposals in the spring.

“Our vision for Ontario Place will make it an impressive attraction that could include exciting sport and entertainment landmarks, public parks or shopping,” said Tibollo in a statement. “We are committed to finding the best private sector partners to renew Ontario Place so that it can once again be an attraction that people can be proud of.”

“We want to preserve the idea of this as a great public space,” said Greenberg. “The second thing is the legacy of the Cinesphere, the pods and the landscape clearly deserve consideration as heritage assets and being repurposed. Some of them already have. Thirdly, the public should be involved in this transformation. This is a public asset, a public resource. Rather than simply putting it on the chopping block for short-term monetization. It’s particularly ironic that it’s the Conservatives who are walking away from their own legacy project.”

Suzanne Kavanagh, a board member of Waterfront for All, said alarm bells went off about the future of the site when the provincial government appointed Jim Ginou to oversee the redevelopment. Media reports indicate after a visit to the site, Ginou referred to it as “disgraceful.” Then the group heard about the Expression of Interest.

“That announcement had us concerned because it just seemed to be side-tracking public consultation,” said Kavanagh. “The reason we’re concerned is because there is only one water’s edge.”

Ontario Place was constructed in 1971 and is said to be a response to Montreal’s Expo 67. It was designed by renowned architect Eberhard Zeidler. Some of the ideas that have been suggested for the site include an amusement park, a giant ferris wheel, a mega mall or a casino.

“The whole idea of Ontario Place is that it was going to be a public space for all Ontarians,” said Kavanagh. “If it’s an amusement park, well now you are defeating the purpose of this space.”

The group wants to make sure there is a comprehensive public review for the redevelopment and they want to be at the table.

“We want to make sure that it is still in the public interest and not a commercial interest that would be driving the new vision,” said Kavanagh. “We don’t want it going to an RFP where there is no input from the community.

“We would like to make sure that there is acknowledgement of the waterfront Indigenous heritage. They’ve got to make sure that Ontario Place is part of the Toronto waterfront parks system. One of the things we would like to see is that there is better integration with the revitalization of Exhibition Place.”

They are also concerned with the fate of the buildings on the site.

“What we need to do is to be thinking about that Cinesphere and say in 50 years from now that will have heritage significance so we need to protect it.
We just can’t keep ripping everything down,” said Kavanagh. “It would be very short-sighted to tear down the Cinesphere and the pods. It changes the skyline of Toronto, which is world renowned.”

Normally a project of this magnitude would follow a public consultation process, Greenberg noted.

“I would have expected they would speak to the publicness of the site but that’s not the case,” explained Greenberg. “It (a public planning process) would identify assets and resources on the site that should be carefully considered and woven into a revitalization scheme. That’s not the case.”

Requests for comment from Tibollo’s office went unreturned as of deadline.

What’s your view? When does public consultation become a barrier to development? How do developers balance public and commercial interests?

Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @ConsultMovement or share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 01 February 2019 on Daily Commercial News. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

‘There was no consultation’ – Residents hit out as trees cleared BEFORE council-owned firm revealed its plans

The project was put before councillors for a decision.

Trees were chopped down on a plot where a council-owned housing firm wanted to build apartments – weeks before an application was lodged.

Residents in Penkhull say they were unaware of plans to remove trees on the Chamberlain Avenue garage site while community leaders say families in the neighbourhood were treated ‘in a very bad way’.

It’s claimed the trees were felled in early September before Fortior Homes – which is owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council – applied for planning permission to demolish the garages to make way for 10 one-bedroom apartments.

Four local residents sent objections in to the council, highlighting parking problems they say already exist in the area. Other concerns included over development of the site and the two storey building overlooking existing homes on Colindene Grove.

However despite the concerns members of the local authority’s planning committee approved the scheme on Wednesday – but said the council needed to ‘do things better’ in future.

Resident Dr John Chinn, who spoke against the plans at Wednesday’s meeting, said: “The removal of the trees was carried out without any consultation.

“We have been there for 20 years and it is green and pleasant – we never saw it as a brownfield site but a green one. We are looking at loss of privacy and parking and traffic issues.

“There are a number of elderly people’s bungalows adjacent to the area and it’s often difficult as it is for carers and doctors to access those bungalows. It’s not just evenings, it’s weekends when a lot of professional people who work outside the area park their cars.

“It does appear to be a cut and dried council planning application.”

Councillor Andy Platt called in the plans for determination by the planning committee so it could be discussed in public after he was contacted by concerned residents.

He said he had been “riled” by the lack of consultation with residents about the tree felling.

“I can see from what’s gone on how it makes people feel,” he added. “They have made so many mistakes.

“They have really treated the local community in a very bad way and I feel upset about it.”

Fellow committee member Chris Robinson said: “I think moving forwards we need to be mindful that we do things better.”

But the committee voted to approve the plans by seven votes. There was one abstention.

A report to the committee said: “The proposed development would redevelop an under-utilised brownfield site creating 10 apartments in a sustainable location close to existing public transport and services.

“Currently there is little to stop the site being used for antisocial behaviour, with little overlooking or natural surveillance of the site from surrounding buildings and uses. The proposals would introduce an element of passive surveillance onto the site which is a positive design consideration in terms of designing for security and enhancing the built environment for the benefit of the wider community.”

Speaking after the meeting Dr Chinn said: “I do not like the decision but I can see the place was becoming untidy. It must have been mooted at some point in the past those garages would be replaced because they had been allowed to deteriorate.

“It is going to impact on parking in Penkhull.”

What’s your view? When is public consultation a requirement? Do Local Authorities need to consult their communities when a decision, no matter how big or small, needs to be made?

Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @ConsultMovement or share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 31 January 2019 on StokeonTrentLive. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

Residents furious at ‘sham’ consultation

Allesley Green residents have called the consultation a ‘sham’

Residents are furious at developers of the Eastern Green masterplan over what they feel is too short a time for consultation.

Peterborough-based Hallam Land Management revealed the Eastern Green Master Plan last week. After months of speculation it shows that traffic will be directed towards the accident black spot Hockley Lane.

The revelation raised fresh concerns among campaigners who have been calling for road safety measures at the site for years. The development also shows new housing backing onto existing properties sparking concerns that inhabitants will be overlooked.

What did homeowners say?

On Appledore Drive in Allesley Green, where gardens are just eight metres long, local homeowner Jeremy Friend is one of the residents affected. He’s calling on developers to honour their pledge to establish a green buffer zone. He’s also angry and dismayed the community were given just one week to respond during a consultation period.

The controversial proposal to develop Eastern Green was first announced in January 2016 and was opposed by Conservative councillors. The Local Plan approved by Labour councillors also enables development at other local beauty spots – including Keresley and Coundon Wedge.

It was created to support the council’s plan for Coventry to become a “top ten city”. With the Local Plan already agreed by Labour councillors, residents accept some form of development is now inevitable. However councillors representing the area believe developers have a duty to help mitigate the scheme as much as possible.

What have local councillors said?

Commenting on the plans Woodlands ward, cllr Pete Male said: “Right from the start we’ve warned that this plan was a developer’s charter with no benefit to local people.

“We fought hard to protect the greenbelt however we accept that decision has now been made.

“With this in mind we entered into discussions with Hallam in good faith suggesting measures which may mitigate the impact in some way.

“However, the truth is their ‘consultation’ has so far been a sham. They’ve planned for even more houses, created more access points and ignored pleas from residents to maintain a buffer zone.”

Fellow Woodlands ward councillor, and leader of the Conservatives at the Council, cllr Gary Ridley said: “Many people feel betrayed and disappointed by this inadequate consultation which looks a bit like a box ticking exercise.

“The lack of engagement has also prompted rumour and speculation, mostly around the future of the Windmill Hotel golf course which is not included in this master plan.

“People have been incredibly pragmatic in the face of this unprecedented development and a green buffer is not an unreasonable request.

“Hallam must listen to this feedback so that we can work towards the best possible outcome for current, and future, residents in the area.”

Cllr Julia Lepoidevin was also in agreement with residents and said: “Residents were promised a development which was sympathetic to the area with adequate infrastructure and a suitable green buffer – these plans appear to show no such thing.

“I’m also very worried that more houses could mean more traffic and congestion for the area.

“Since we were briefed by Hallam last year an extra access point seems to have been added which will direct traffic towards Hockley Lane.

“I’ve been campaigning to get safety measures there for some time as it’s already a dangerous hotspot. What impact will this volume of additional traffic have?”

How did the developers respond?

A spokesperson for Hallam Land Management said: “We welcomed nearly 400 people along to our consultation event on 19 June, which we publicised with letters through the doors of neighbouring residents’ homes, posters in local community buildings and an advertisement in the local media.

“All of our material explained the deadline for feedback, and we have been delighted with the amount we received, both on the day and throughout the consultation period.

“We have listened to all of the comments, and wherever possible they will be informing our outline planning application.

“There will also be a further opportunity to comment on the proposals once the application has been submitted.

“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to come and talk to us, and share their feedback on our proposals, along with the other residents and stakeholder groups we’ve been working with over the last year while we developed our plans.”

What is the masterplan?

The outline proposals are for approximately 2,625 homes on land north of Eastern Green, Coventry, which would become a new mixed-use community. As well as providing a mix of much-needed new housing, the inclusion of the employment land and a new district centre means the proposed development would also create new jobs.

There would be areas of green open space including a new park as well as play areas, sports facilities, and allotments for new and existing residents to enjoy.

The current draft illustrative masterplan for the site includes proposals for:

  • Approximately 2,625 new homes, including up to 25 per cent affordable housing and provision for the elderly
  • Publicly accessible green corridors along the Pickford Brook and tributaries along with green open spaces, play areas, allotments and sports facilities
  • A new two form entry primary school
  • Provision for neighbourhood shopping facilities and a community hall in the local centre on site
  • District centre to provide retail and other facilities for the new and wider community
  • 10 hectares of employment to the north of the site closest to the A45. There will also be additional employment opportunities in the school, as well as both the local and district centres
  • The provision of a grade separated junction on the A45, which has received provisional government funding to assist in the early delivery of this large infrastructure item
  • Connecting the site to the existing public transport service and cycle/pedestrian access
  • Betterment of local drainage conditions designed to deal with existing overland flows and surface water disposal from the development itself
  • Sensitive habitats on the site will be protected and enhanced, including through retention of the majority of existing trees hedgerows, and the creation of new habitats on-site.

The city council’s ​Local Plan has released the Eastern Green site from the green belt to enable its development. Green belt land can be altered as part of the Local Plan review process, to meet development needs in a sustainable and appropriate way.

This followed a comprehensive review and assessment of the green belt by the city council. The land surrounding the Eastern Green site, will remain protected as part of the green belt.

What is the Local Plan?

The council’s Local Plan sets out how the council plans for the city to expand between now and 2031.

Approximately 10 per cent of the city’s green belt will be lost under plans to build 25,000 new homes for Coventry’s expanding population over the next 14 years. That’s an area roughly the size of Birmingham Airport, three-and-a-half times the size of Coventry city centre and about the same size as two Coombe Abbey Country Parks.

It has now been signed off by central government and has huge implications for almost every area of the city. Of the planned housing, 17,000 homes are allocated to existing brown field sites.

But areas around Keresley and Eastern Green will be hard hit as the council seeks to find a way of accommodating the city’s expanding population – including allowing thousands of new homes on green belt.

What’s your view? What does meaningful engagement look like? What is a satisfactory level of consultation? Share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 09 July 2018 in Coventry Live. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

Call for further consultation on Relief Road plan

Councillors vote to request another round of consultation when a preferred route has been identified

Calls have been made for a second stage of consultation on Cullompton’s relief road once a preferred route has been identified.

At a full meeting of Mid Devon District Council (MDDC) on December 19, Councillor Nikki Woollatt (Cullompton North, Independent) put forward a motion which was backed by the Council.

It said: “That this Council would like a second stage of consultation on the relief road once a preferred route has been identified to feed into and comment on the further more detailed work which will take place on development of junction strategies, engineering, environmental assessments and so on, prior to submission of a formal planning application.

“Further to that, that this Council ensures that residents and businesses within Cullompton are informed in advance of the consultation commencing by direct contact via a letter or leaflet delivery.

“Also, that hard copies of information regarding the consultation and means of responding be left in public buildings in the town in order that people who are not online or comfortable using computers can easily access and contribute to the consultation.”

Cllr Woollatt said that it was not unusual for councils to carry out secondary consultations and that the Council should be doing its job to engage within the community to the best of its ability.

“The second stage of consultation I am proposing would comment on more detailed proposals to enable it to be the best it can be for Cullompton,” she said.

“If it goes straight to a planning application, the consultation process at that stage does not so easily allow for changes and tweaks to be made. It’s likely that a scheme will be imposed on Cullompton by those without the benefit of knowledge which comes from living, working, and driving there. It has to be better to have a scheme which has the most possible input from local people.”

Councillor Richard Chesterton (Lower Culm, Conservative) cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said that at the previous consultation there had been 632 responses, 800 people had visited one of six public events, and there were 1319 unique visits to the consultation’s website.

He said: “I think the various methods used had a good success rate in drawing out views from the public as to what they thought, and I understand that there is a clear preference from the people of Cullompton on a preferred route.

“Mid Devon’s cabinet will be looking at the responses that are being compiled by Devon County in association with our officers, and we’ll be giving an opinion on our preferred route as a cabinet on behalf of this Council at our meeting on January 31. I am sure that meeting will be well attended and that plenty of people from Cullompton will take the opportunity to voice their view in public question time or in other forms of lobbying before that meeting.

“However, at that point, the matter leaves this Council, and it goes to Devon County who will ultimately be the authority who will be putting together any planning application and moving forward with that. We will have stated our preferred option and route, but at that point, it becomes a Devon County matter.”

He added: “I don’t think its necessarily possible for us to unilaterally decide to do another level of consultation because it won’t be our information and process to be consulting on. Devon County is aware of this motion and that there is a desire for further consultation.

“We know that they will be holding public exhibitions in advance of any application being submitted. I appreciate that some members will say a public exhibition is not the same as a public consultation, but they will be aware of the desire for it.

“Ultimately it will be the choice of Devon County on how they want to move forward on this matter.”

Questions were also raised regarding leaflets and how residents in Cullompton did not receive promotional material regarding the initial relief road consultation in September 2018.

Cllr Woollatt moved a motion calling for the company contracted to deliver leaflets be held to account for the non-delivery and that the Council sought to recover a refund for the element of work which was not carried out.

Cllr Woollatt added: “I have evidence from many residents, myself included, that leaflets were not delivered to their homes.

“There has been no evidence or proof from the delivery company to back up their claim that they have delivered them all.”

Cllr Chesterton added: “Originally the writing to individual houses in the form of a leaflet and delivering that to the individual homes was an extra that the cabinet agreed to. We felt it was a sensible idea as an additional means of consultation, but one must remember that within our scope of consultation we would not have needed to do that.

“The benefits of the leaflets being produced was that many people were able to take them away for both themselves and others at our consultation events. I think it’s fair to say some did get successfully delivered through the doors in Cullompton although it’s hard to know exactly how many.”

Kathryn Tebbey, legal services manager and monitoring officer, added: “Questions are being asked and answers are being sought. I wouldn’t want to give the information out in the public domain at the moment, but we are looking into it.”

What’s your view? How should consultation materials be shared with stakeholders? How much time should be spent on consultation before submitting planning applications? Share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on 04 January 2019 on Devon Online. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.