The so called public consultation process as practised by Centros and our council is little more than a bad joke, and the way that consultation results were used by Centros in 2007, represented the positive aspects of their development while brushing the unpleasant realities under the carpet. In their April 2007 Public Consultation on the Development Proposals , letters from the public that they included, gave the impression that supporters of their development were rational and informed, whilst those against it were ill-educated and incoherent yokels. The reasoned views that were presented to Centros by It's Our City and others were barely represented at all.
In the public inquiry, consultation was not considered by the planning inspector, demonstrating that despite the law, consultation is effectively a box ticking exercise that allows Centros and similar developers to use it as another weapon in their spin doctor's armoury.
Letters & Emails
|30 January 2006||City Centre and Residents Survey||January 2006 - How responses from residents next to the development site were excluded from the residents survey and the survey was completey ignored at the Council Cabinet meeting which approved the development agreement.|
|14 May 2007||Secret Planning Delivery Agreement||Local councillor denied sight of Centros planning agreement by council officer.|
- Real Planning for Lancaster 2003 Survey - In 2003 a local group called 'Real Planning for Lancaster' carried out a public consultation on what local people would like to see done with the Canal Corridor site. The results showed strong opposition to large retail development and increased traffic congestion. Their well presented 10 page report is comprehensive compared to the superficial Centros Surveys of Jan 2006. The Council cabinet completely ignored the residents survey carried out by Centros in January 2006 which didn't fit in with their plans to force the development through whatever the public wants.
- Planning Delivery Agreements Report - This report by ATLAS (Advisory Team for Large Applications), concerns the Fast Track Planning system introduced by the government to make it easier for developers to get their plans through. It requires a developer to engage in public consultation but as we have seen, Centros pays lip service to this requirement as a box ticking exercise.
- In praise of ... Uttlesford district council - In their 30th Nov 06 article, the Guardian reports how Uttlesford District Council voted against further expansion of Stansted Airport. Here is a council who actually listens to the residents of their district, and takes note of their concerns. Here is a council actually concerned and doing something about global warming. Uttlesford, we salute you.
- Public Debate - Virtual Lancaster report on the Gregson Community Centre panel debate organised by It's Our City to debate the issues with the leaders of each local party. Meeting was chaired by Alan Whitaker, Pro Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University.
- The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 - Section 106 - Section 106 allows councils to insist on such things as car free housing and more community facilities in new developments. IOC's efforts to get the council to take advantage of this to get a better deal from Centros fell on deaf ears.