Phone: 01603 722581 26th June 2012
Broadland District Council
Dear Mr Kirby,
Thank you for your letter dated 18th June and the contents are noted and in particular the Cabinet decision to use an alternative description for “objectors”.
I have today received my notification about these consultations and as feared note that the end date for this is Monday 6th August. The letter was dated 21st June, which with traditional holiday periods and nearly a week’s delay in the postal system has the same effect as having a four-week window.
We in SNUB are not sure how local residents can be consulted with in such a short period and welcome the formal application from Plumstead Parish Council to have a consultation lasting three months. Indeed if you consider that both Plumstead and Rackheath have their Parish Council meetings in July (9th and 16th respectively) and then do not meet again until September (10th and 17th respectively) then the opportunity for discussion and debate with the community is lessened even further thus reinforcing the view that there is a democratic deficit here in Broadland.
This view is further reinforced by the silence on the progress of the Independent Enquiry on the handling of the Joint Core Strategy by BDC that was announced at the full Council meeting in March this year. Perhaps the review has been completed and lessons learnt that would be reflected in this current consultation. However it is difficult if not impossible to know whether BDC are just carrying on regardless of the review and repeating the same mistakes as last time despite what the Judge described as “unlawful” activity.
Has the unlawful management of the JCS been discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee? Perhaps it should in addition to the independent review thus providing a political input as well as a management view? Would you agree that for piece of mind the OSC should have a look at this?
It also occurs to me that we have not had a response about our request last year to record the proceedings at full Council meetings in order to use social media channels to inform and reinforce democratic decision-making at BDC. You may recall that I attempted this last year and was advised by the Chair that the Council would discuss this at a future meeting. It became clear at the meeting in March this year that this discussion had not taken place as I was almost forcibly prevented from recoding the proceedings. We will be attempting to record the proceedings at this week’s council meeting and would welcome your acquiescence in line with central government guidelines.