Sunday, 9 January 2011

Curious Consultations

When Cllr James Powney stated from the platform at the recent Town Hall meeting that 'There is no alternative' to the library closures, someone heckled, "Then why are you consulting us?" Other speakers were equally disenchanted with consultation suggesting that major questions were already decided ahead of consultation outcomes.

A little cynical you may think...

However there was a statutory consultation before the holiday on the proposed expansion of Preston Manor High School so that it will also provide primary education in the future. A report on the consultation outcomes will go to the council Executive on February 11th 2011 and they will decide whether to approve the expansion. Obviously they will approach the issue with open minds and take note of the submissions?

However this month the Council is consulting on a planning application for a new 2 form entry primary school on the Preston Manor High School site - to be decided no earlier than January 20th 2011. (An earlier date had been given but residents protested that consultation letters arrived late because of the Christmas post.)

When we queried why the Council was seeking planning permission before the Executive had discussed whether to expand the school, Brent Council told us:
"The Planning Application has been submitted in advance of the Executive approval to ensure that  the statutory proposal can be implemented on time."
I will leave you to decide whether the statutory consultation was genuine or just another exercise in ticking the boxes.

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