News of last night's Place Shaping Committee meeting has been filtering though and it appears that although disappointed with the response rate to the Rackheath Exemplar consultation, the members absolved themselves and the council of all responsibility for the low returns. The phrase "You can lead a horse to the water, but you can't make it drink" was apparently uttered.
Members were under the illusion that everyone in the area had received their own copy of the explanatory booklet and accompanying questionnaire and it seems that there was general agreement that this had happened until an officer sheepishly said that no, this was not the case - copies were available at the council offices or at the local shop and posters had been put up advertising the fact. So members then looked for someone else to blame and struck upon the notion that the Parish Clerk must be to blame as there was also the mysterious case of the Neighbourhood Planning Vanguard information not being received by Rackheath.
It so happens that our Parish Clerk in Rackheath is a particularly efficient person and meticulous in her work and it seemed grossly unfair to put the blame upon the Clerk who was not there to defend herself.
The whole fiasco of the consultation was apparently allowed to go unchallenged once they had found their scapegoat. The real reason fore the low response rate was that the local community do NOT want either the Exemplar or the proposed eco-town and they have said this time and time again but the Council do not listen. No-one listens. At one public meeting a parishioner called for a vote of no confidence in the Council and this was overwhelmingly supported by hundreds of local people. Local people are fed-up with sham consultations and this was reflected in the low response rate. Ambivalence? Pah!