Consultation: Difficult to participate

Here we go again. Another of what passes in Scarborough Council as public consultations; this time on what we want our town to look like for the next 10 years or more.

It was available for one day 9am–7pm, with a member of staff available on request. I requested, and a very helpful lady responded. The problem is that when it came to actually participating in the consultation, it was impossible to do so in the way required by the council in their consultation document given to us to complete.

We had a notice board with a few pictures of the “Now”, and a few words, some as questions others as statements of the obvious. Nothing visionary, exciting, nothing to comment on, question or even think about. But we also had two very large documents to read (only one copy of each available), mentally process, analyse and then make comments as directed on the consultation document.

The document required that if we wanted to make any comments then we should “indicate the document and the specific page and paragraph you are commenting on” and “please provide your comments and explain your reason for supporting or opposing this part of the document”.

When I say that each document would take at least three hours to read and understand, that is an understatement. Yet that was a requirement if you wanted to participate in this public consultation! Did anybody test the reality of what they were asking?

I expect that when it comes to feedback on the consultation, the council will say that, very disappointingly, few people participated. I wanted to, but having to study those huge documents in order to do so would have taken hours and hours (and remember, only two people at a time could read them) and will leave nobody in any doubt as to how badly they wanted our input into their decision making – not!

Patricia David

Filey Road