I want to have my say but consultation process is flawed

After reading the Harborough Mail article on the local council’s invitation to the public to comment on priorities in the draft Corporate Plan, I expected participation to be a straightforward process.

Unfortunately the Corporate Plan heading was concealed when I looked up the website and it took me quite a long time to find it.

I read the draft and wrote my response – only to discover that I had exceeded the 10-minute time limit and lost all trace of my comment. I had to repeat the whole exercise.

Our council seems to have a very limited concept of public consultation – they certainly don’t make it easy for us.

The last one was a complete and no doubt expensive farce –when we almost all voted for Option A and were then told it was not available.

The latest consultation on priorities for the next two years seems equally pointless. The draft plan sounds impressive – just what one might expect from a responsible and caring council. But if the following extract is typical then the document is little more than misleading, even dishonest, propaganda:

n Development of the right quality and quantity of housing and employment sites to be placed in the right locations with the right levels of infrastructure, informed by local communities and their representatives.

n Help support a neighbourhood planning approach to growth that improves the quality of life for the community.

To me this means that our local community will be able to decide what is right for housing, employment and infrastructure – yet we know from recent council announcements that plans for the future of Harborough are already made.

Councillor Rook’s expertise in economics may be in danger of creating more problems than it solves. He admits in his column that we “are facing reduced grants...so need to find new ways to plug the gaps, such as the New Homes Bonus”. His mind is made up and he does not want to be confused by the fact that the local population, supported by his ex-deputy, do not want to see their town expanded to the point of destruction. So why spend even more of our money consulting us when there is no possibility of agreeing to any significant changes? Do our councillors really think they can carry on fooling us indefinitely?

David Leech

Hill Top Close

Market Harborough