FOLLOWING attendance at the consultation event relating to the draft local plan, staged by Arun District Council on Saturday, July 28, at the Regis Centre, my recommendation to town councillors requesting a second consultation event is: please do not waste your time and energy on this event.
I was left with the impressions that either this was the most blatant tick-box exercise I have encountered and ADC felt there was absolutely no reason to approach this in a professional manner, or that the level of incompetence within ADC is even higher than I originally thought.
First impressions of the event were poor, to say the least.
The ‘consultation team’ was trying to run an audio-visual presentation from a small laptop computer with inadequate audio speakers in the same small area as the public were all trying to huddle around a very cramped and poorly laid-out display board.
At one point, when I could finally get to the display board, I had to kneel down in order to read the minimal information available.
The venue was hot, stuffy, small and inappropriate.
The team appeared to have far less knowledge than almost anyone in the room and was unprepared to answer any meaningful questions.
A key point raised was that ADC does not even know who owns all the pockets of land.
Something a seriously-minded organisation should have and would have addressed a long time ago.
One of the team, however, assured me that he would suggest that sort of information might be gathered!
I spoke to the team about the unprofessional, poorly laid-out displays and how inappropriate it was to even attempt to run an audio-visual display at the same time, in such a cramped environment.
Their answer was that there was a shortage of display boards and that the problems of the IT system were already known but there was nothing that could be done about it.
I shall address my concerns regarding the local plan with the appropriate officers at ADC but as a consultation exercise this event was extremely poor.
It was unfair of ADC to place its junior employees, with very little knowledge and poor presentation skills, in this situation and by doing so it showed no respect to the community who deserve a lot better than this.
Den Avenue, Bognor Regis