Council chief defends Local Plan consultation process

Cllr Neil Marshall

Cllr Neil Marshall

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

EVERY resident should have been aware of a public consultation asking where thousands of homes and businesses should be built in the district.

That was the message from Cllr Neil Marshall, who defended the way Wycombe District Council conducted its 11 week Local Plan survey.

Cllr Mohammed Hanif asked WDC’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainability if the authority would re-run the public consultation after some residents did not receive the important document through the post.

Cllr Marshall said: “No. I do not believe anyone was unaware of the consultation and we extended the period to give people time to respond.”

His comments were met with jeers and cries of “you are kidding yourself” from the public gallery inside the Council Chamber on Monday night, as Flackwell Heath residents attended to hand in a petition asking for proposals for a new M40 junction 3a to be thrown out.

Cllr Marshall said he was “surprised and disappointed” to hear some people had not received the consultation document or “do not remember receiving it" and the matter would be taken up with the Royal Mail.

But he said the postal issues affected about one percent of the population so the vast majority of residents should have got it through their doors.

Information about the Local Plan had been displayed on WDC’s website and notice boards, with the documents also available in libraries and parish council offices around the district, Cllr Marshall added.

Exhibitions and meetings were held around the area and the Bucks Free Press carried numerous stories on the proposals, including a front page story on January 31 which spilled into a two page spread, he said.

Cllr Marshall added the authority also reached out to residents in more innovative ways including on social media and by setting up video kiosks in the Eden Shopping Centre over a three day period in March.

He added: “A large number of people attended the exhibitions and we have had over 1,700 responses to the public consultation.”

A report outlining the findings of the consultation will be released in the summer, the council chief revealed.

The council may have to build between 500 and 700 new homes every 12 months between now and 2031 to keep up with growth.

Up to 400 dwellings are currently built around the district every year.

All local authorities have been told by the government to work out how many homes and jobs they require and plan to meet that need.

Comments (4)

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7:15pm Wed 30 Apr 14

gpn01 says...

Cllr Marshall is correct, ...every resident SHOULD have been aware of a public consultation. However, having attended one of the events it was obviously clear that the message, through whatever medium, had failed to make it through to the majority of local residents.

I would question the second half of his assertion that the consultation was " asking where thousands of homes and businesses SHOULD be built in the district". That's a subtly different message from the one that I understood, which was that the purpose of the consultation was to consult with residents about where properties COULD be built.
Cllr Marshall is correct, ...every resident SHOULD have been aware of a public consultation. However, having attended one of the events it was obviously clear that the message, through whatever medium, had failed to make it through to the majority of local residents. I would question the second half of his assertion that the consultation was " asking where thousands of homes and businesses SHOULD be built in the district". That's a subtly different message from the one that I understood, which was that the purpose of the consultation was to consult with residents about where properties COULD be built. gpn01
  • Score: 10

12:42pm Thu 1 May 14

Scarletto says...

It was publicised quite well with council booklet delivered to most or all homes plus residents' associations in some areas also publicised it. Also there were reports in the BF Press. Too few residents take interest in major and crucial local topics, that's the problem,
We quite desperately need more homes, in the right areas, plus we want our A&E dept back!
It was publicised quite well with council booklet delivered to most or all homes plus residents' associations in some areas also publicised it. Also there were reports in the BF Press. Too few residents take interest in major and crucial local topics, that's the problem, We quite desperately need more homes, in the right areas, plus we want our A&E dept back! Scarletto
  • Score: 1

10:01pm Thu 1 May 14

Minority Report says...

Wot local plan? I've heard nothing, Wot document through the post? I've received nothing. WDC and the Cllr must be confused if they think many folk are aware. Come on Cllr wake up, smell the coffee, live in the real world with the rest of us.
Wot local plan? I've heard nothing, Wot document through the post? I've received nothing. WDC and the Cllr must be confused if they think many folk are aware. Come on Cllr wake up, smell the coffee, live in the real world with the rest of us. Minority Report
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 2 May 14

Darren Hayday says...

Scarletto wrote:
It was publicised quite well with council booklet delivered to most or all homes plus residents' associations in some areas also publicised it. Also there were reports in the BF Press. Too few residents take interest in major and crucial local topics, that's the problem,
We quite desperately need more homes, in the right areas, plus we want our A&E dept back!
I see that you haven't got around to setting up another account on here under your real name Cllr Julia Wassel?
[quote][p][bold]Scarletto[/bold] wrote: It was publicised quite well with council booklet delivered to most or all homes plus residents' associations in some areas also publicised it. Also there were reports in the BF Press. Too few residents take interest in major and crucial local topics, that's the problem, We quite desperately need more homes, in the right areas, plus we want our A&E dept back![/p][/quote]I see that you haven't got around to setting up another account on here under your real name Cllr Julia Wassel? Darren Hayday
  • Score: 0

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