Ambivalence? They MUST be joking!

Members of Broadland District Council's Place Shaping Committee will be discussing this report tonight. It is the summary of response to the Rackheath Exemplar Brief Consultation carried out between 22 August  and 29 October 2010.

The Council have had three months to produce this report and in their summary of responses they start off by saying:

"It is evident that the majority of local residents who responded to the consultation exercise are opposed to the exemplar project and to any future eco-community at Rackheath. However, it is also clear that only a small number of residents in Rackheath and surrounding villages completed the form and so it is difficult to assess to what degree the views expressed are representative of the community as a whole. In fact it can be argued that the lack of response to the consultation exercise demonstrates a degree of local ambivalence to the proposed exemplar project."

Well 87.6% opposed to the Exemplar seems pretty clear - even if you discount those received in 'batches' - the results show 75.3% do not support the scheme. The 90 forms which were returned and had 'only all or part of the final page completed' have been excluded from the analysis so the data has been analysed  using only the 93 responses that BDC deemed valid.

Broadland District Council know that there is considerable local opposition to their proposals for both the proposed Exemplar scheme and their much loved vision for an eco-town (low carbon community - call it what you will). It seems that they are quite happy to to use low response rates to their advantage when they choose (such as the small sample on which the GNDP based their justification for proceeding with the Joint Core Strategy) but it will be interesting to hear how councillors respond to this report and what decision they reach.

The schedule of comments and proposed response set out in Appendix 3 is laughable as they still bandy about percentage figures when referring to the public consultation element to supposedly boost their arguments - we trust that if the Inspector is shown this appendix he is made aware of the full facts and the numbers involved.

We questioned the the use of this questionnaire when it was first produced and pointed out that best practice in questionnaire design had not been followed - best practice in terms of analysis does not seem to have been followed either just 'clever' manipulation of numbers. One can only assume that they needed the past three months to figure out ways of trying to present the results of this consultation as being meaningful. They state in their commentary that "Given the number of households within the project area, the response rate is low. Consultation on a draft brief has not been undertaken before and some people misunderstood the purpose, assuming that the scheme is further advanced than is the case". So respondents misunderstood did they? No - they gave their views on what had been presented to them.

Oh, one more thing - ambivalence? Just who are they kidding? The local community have had long enough to know not to trust consultations or, indeed, Broadland District Council.


  1. The reason that only a small number of residents completed the form was because there was nowhere to say NO. It is obvious that those who tried to do that had their contributions excluded.
    Most people were only too well aware of the intent of the Council and wisely chose not even to fill it in.
    Everybody believes that it is the start of a massive landgrab by the developers encouraged by the Council, using green credentials as an excuse.

  2. Richard Williams6 February 2011 at 21:45

    It is not uncommon for me to refer to Orwellian prescience but this latest from the Place Shaping Committee is classic.
    This consultation on the Exemplar housing in Rackheath brought forward 185 replies, but they only counted the 93 which they said were valid. The others were incomplete and basically said No to the development, so the Council just ignored them. So it is actually c10% of the Rackheath population on my reading and c 5% on theirs.

    However when they produced the the final version of the JCS and submitted it for consultation under Rule 25, there were only 356 responses from consultees. This is only twice as many responses as just for the Rackheath development. 356 out of a 200,000 population within the GNDP. A percentage of less than 0.2%.

    Spot the difference They can go ahead with the JCS on a percentage of less than 0.2% but then claim that the small response in Rackheath suggests a degree of ambivalence.
    The logic is unbelievable and we still call it democracy.

  3. After several of Broadland DC's own consultations have shown strong opposition, plus many public meetings and several petitions from over 3,000 residents when is the Council going to be democratic and accept the fact that their ratepayers do not want the urbanisation of their villages. To think we elected THEM to represent US.

  4. Broadsman must be kidding if he thinks that Broadland is a Democratic Council. You have to accept that this Council is run by a small clique of Officers and senior members with their Developer friends.

  5. Where, prey tell me, are the voices of the 'supposed' local district councilrs who were elcted to represent the views of the people who voted them in? they have both attended many and varied meetings and have both been 'barraged' from local residents from Rackheath to Wroxham in complete opposition to the Eco Town, the exemplar, and the urban sprawl that their masters are forcing- down our necks.....i'll tell you is bought the other is in the process of being 'brain-washed'....sad but true...even the press print a large section on the Place-shaping's shock and horror that only a few people filled- in the nonsultation to a Brief for Rackheath ( remember, this was not a consultation on the exemplar itself, merely on the 'breifing document')and they have the sheer affrontery to label this 'ambivalence!....AND the press seem somewhat 'scared' to print any modecome of opposition from 'local' people with regards to to any innapropriate developements?...surely we are not harking back to the bad old days when the owner of Archant media had his own designs on developements and NDR's is it?....these are strange-dark times my friends and those local people who dare to rock what is scarilly becoming the status quo, face even tougher challenges ahead....but the one light at the end of the tunnell is....we do have 'RIGHT' on our side and can rest our heads on our pillows every night without fears of persons knocking on our doors....Yours sincerely, Not Ambivalent ( Local).

  6. Another Anonymous said; "I say,I say,I say, did you hear the one about the member of the planning department for BDC, who when asked very simple questions from members of the local public at a Rackheath meeting regarding the eco town,the height of the rotor blades for a wind generator in relation to the direct flight path from Norwich airport and that the N&N was on 'Black alert' and what plans had they put into place to alleviate these ( and many more)......AND HE DIDN'T HAVE A CLUE?...WELL, he's alive and well and he's still saying things like " i don't really like counting choickens as far as the Inspector and the Joint Core Strategy is concearned but"..... and WE are paying for this?