Cornwall Council have started a consultation on their 'eco-town vision statement' (See their website) which will run from 13th September to 25th October. The main consultation is on-line but written comments can be emailed or posted to the council.
The on-line survey is very straightforward and is only 10 pages long - giving respondents the option to 'strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree or strongly disagree' to a number of statements as well as giving the opportunity to make comments too. They ask for gender, age and ethnic origin as well as asking if the respondent is disabled (respondents can prefer not to answer if they choose) AND they ask 'Where is your nearest town or village'. ALL pretty standard stuff carried out in a professional manner allowing for meaningful analysis at the end of the consultation.
The survey includes the option to 'neither agree nor disagree' and in an on-line article on the BBC website recently it was suggested that it was the people who answered in this way who might actually have the most to say and shouldn't be disregarded! However, Broadland District Council in their 38 page questionnaire on the Exemplar project have chosen NOT to give respondents that option and neither have they asked for any personal details such as age or location (ok - people can, if they wish, put in their name and address if they want to enter the prize draw). Nor do Broadland give respondents the option of an on-line response but expect participants to print out their 38 page questionnaire and then fill it in and post it off to them (or drop it in to two named locations).
Recently other proposed eco-towns seem to have managed a more professional consultation and it seems likely that the analysis of those consultations will elicit more meaningful results too.