PCO Board wary of complexity of key consultation

The former president of the Municipal Council of the BCP declared to the current head of the community that there was a “distrust” on the functioning of a great consultation on the future of the agglomeration.

Liberal Democrat councilor Vikki Slade said the council’s focus on online and digital platforms was causing difficulties for many in the community.

The BCP board last month launched its consultation on local plan issues and options.

Concerns were raised about the number of residents aware of the consultation, the significance of their responses, and the complexity of the digital documentation.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Review and Oversight Board meeting, Cllr Slade said: ‘There’s a lot of mistrust actually, I don’t think I’m exaggerating in calling it mistrust, that it has been deliberately complicated to fill in all the forms online, so that normal people cannot fill it out.

Clr Vikki Slade

Cllr Slade said she herself had run into difficulties trying to respond to the council’s waterfront strategy consultation.

“It’s not just about having a call center,” she said.

“It’s about saying basically, we’re going to have a roadshow for things like the local plan. I think that’s really important.

PCO Council Chief Drew Mellor said he was “completely on board” with the topic of face-to-face consultation.

He cited a pause in a work-related consultation at Turlin Moor due to an inability to do an in-person consultation due to the pandemic as a ‘clear statement’ from the Tory administration to value it and ensure that it is integral.

Echo of Bournemouth: Cllr Drew MellorCllr Drew Mellor

Responding to Cllr Slade, Cllr Mellor said: “I’m going to pick up on your point about the difficulties of consultations for the waterfront strategy and also the local plan in terms of making sure there are face-to-face opportunities the low.”

The consultation on issues and options is open for responses until March 7.

Details can be found online at haveyoursay.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/localplan. Residents can view the consultation online, download and print a PDF copy, or pick up a paper summary of the survey from any of the council libraries.

Sharon D. Cole