Posted by: swinemoor | September 28, 2014

Consultation is the Key

In the week when the Scots voted narrowly to stay within the United Kingdom, it seems appropriate to bring up the subject of consultation in relation to the plans to widen the existing cycle lane along side the B1230. According to the Department for Transport, public consultation with key groups early in the process can be particularly useful. However, in this case this clearly did not happen as the only consultation that took place in advance of the first application in December 2011 was with Sustrans and the Pasture Masters, who raised no objection. There is no evidence from Mr Elliott’s judgement that any wider consultation was undertaken and, in view of the nature of much of the evidence presented, many of the issues raised could have been dealt with through detailed consultation with interested parties. However, that said, Mr Elliott granted permission for the development but recommended that ERYC first sort out the legal difficulties regarding cycling off the highway (para 31).

How did ERYC go about this?

20140917 Bev Advertiser

Beverley Advertiser 17 Sept 2014

Once again there was a complete lack of consultation: the first we heard of the reincarnated proposal in 2014 was the botched erection of notices in and around Hurn Common in January. This was followed by the revelation that Molescroft Parish Council had not been told of ERYC’s plans and the initial objection of the Pasture Masters, which was only withdrawn after ERYC had gone back on the their word saying they were going to grub-out an ancient hedge bank and mature trees, after initially saying they were going to retain them (see Beverley Advertiser article above).

20140919 Bev Guardian B Willar letter

Letter Beverley Guardian from B Willar 19 Sept 2014

 

These plans were not published on ERYC’s website because they were too big and it would take too much time. We at NSH take this to mean they were hoping to push this through under the radar, i.e. without consultation. This is the theme of many letters in the Beverley Guardian (see B Willar’s letter left).

It is clear that ERYC have not followed ‘best practice’ in engaging with the public and, depending on the legal vehicle they are intending to use, they need to undertake different levels of consultation. If ERYC are intending to designate a new cycle track under The Highways Act 1980 then public consultation is not a legal requirement. Nevertheless, in all cases it is strongly recommended that extensive consultation is carried out (DfT 2012 p. 55). If they intend to use the Cycle Tracks Act 1984 to convert the footpath to a cycle track then public consultation is a mandatory requirement; the use of permissive rights is not recommended and nor are Section 106 agreements (DfT 2012 pp 56-57).

In view of this, NSH call on ERYC to begin the entire process again with full consultation right from the get go, so that a consensus solution to the above impasse can be found, where the integrity of Westwood is maintained, no precedent is set and a new cycle lane that does not cross the B1230, with its concomitant dangers, is constructed.

Surely this is achievable in the 21st Century?


Responses

  1. Local Authorities like other publically funded agencies are not keen on consultation in my experience, nor for that matter open and transparent conduct of business.

    As for them actually operating in the 21st Century, we can dream? Dark ages has been my experience, but keep on campaigning and let’s hold them to account.

    As for ERYCs failure to post plans and response letters on their website, what is the point in them operating one if they use it selectively? Surely there’s a case for a complaint if they are failing to publish applications etc.?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: