Consultation minefield is nightmare for affected residents

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LIVING in Bestwood Village, I was aware that details of the Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategy (over-arching plan for development, including housing) were to be released on Monday June 11 and looked forward, in particular, to details of how this might affect our village, already being aware that, so far as Gedling is concerned, new housing development sites would be including the Gedling village areas.

Alas, having looked up the relevant website on the above date, trying to find out any real information proved very difficult and navigating around the various parts of the site was similarly something of a headache.

I then heard that there were to be a couple of sessions at the village social club hosted by a member of the Gedling planning staff where we could find out more.

Trying to get more information on these sessions was not at all easy and I eventually found that they had only been detailed on the aforementioned complicated website — absolutely nowhere else!

The fact that attendance at each session was in single figures for a population of 2,000-plus speaks as much for the lack of publicity as it does for public apathy — an apathy that, to a large extent, is borne of a reluctance on the part of the council to provide information in an easily understandable fashion.

The final, and perhaps most damning part of this complaint relates to the response form.

Any form which needs a six-page guidance note is obviously not composed with a real expectation of obtaining public response.

Do you really want to be transparent as regards your plans? Do you really want to know what the public think? By making information hard to come by and official response channels difficult to negotiate, the public, whose very lives will be significantly affected by these plans, are struggling to make their voices heard.

The way that this information has been released and the vehicles provided for public participation are totally unacceptable and substantial improvements are required in public communication pathways.

JACK ASHWORTH,

Bestwood Village,

(Address supplied).