Saturday, April 14, 2012
Richard Cohen, in his uncompromising letter (Journal, March 22), proclaims he knows what the people of Exmouth want based on the consultations carried out following publication of the Draft Exmouth Masterplan. He conveniently ignores the fact that the ‘consultation’ was a sham.
At the time, he was kind enough to congratulate me on the quality of our association’s 59-page constructive response to the masterplan.
However, it warranted only two bullet points in East Devon District Council’s lengthy report on the consultation exercise and none of our proposals or even corrections found their way into the finalised report.
In fact, of all the changes made in producing the final version of the masterplan, only one minor change was attributed to any of the public’s responses.
The result is a final document that contains many of the errors and inconsistencies that were excusable in the draft, but are not in the final version.
Frankly, this is a disgrace and EDDC should be trying to discover why this ‘long running and painstaking’ exercise has left them with so little high ground to talk from. Why did EDDC’s staff not take into account the points raised by the public?
He says, ‘If anyone reads the masterplan...’ and, of course, that is just the problem. The full version is only available as an electronic download and comprises 99 pages of crowded text with the most rudimentary indexing.
What should have been a handbook that councillors and others could have kept by them as a reference to the proposed changes is yet another report destined for obscurity.
Why did EDDC allow the masterplan to be published in such a useless and verbose format? No chance of a crystal mark for clarity here.
‘Like it or not...’ Richard says, EDDC is going to spend £700,000 on project delivery funding.
Well, I do not like it. I am not averse to employing consultants, but do not believe we should do so before we have fleshed out the viability of the proposals first.
The next step should be for EDDC’s own staff to produce what I would call a ‘feasibility study’ for each project, a detailed statement of what is proposed that identifies the issues involved.
This should be available for public comment before expensive consultants are employed on the detailed proposals.
I also do not like the euphemisms used such as ‘value of redeveloping assets’ when I think he means the sale of council land.
Exmouth is able to ‘think big’ if it is given a sound basis on which to do that thinking.
Exmouth Residents’ and Traders’ Association.