St Albans 'City Vision' leaves visitor unimpressed

PUBLISHED: 10:50 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

RESIDENTS hoping to get a glimpse of the St Albans City Vision project needed some very good vision themselves. For an exhibition showcasing the progress of the district council s blueprint for how the city should develop and improve over the next 20 yea

RESIDENTS hoping to get a glimpse of the St Albans City Vision project needed some very good vision themselves.

For an exhibition showcasing the progress of the district council's blueprint for how the city should develop and improve over the next 20 years has drawn criticism about its size and content.

The exhibition to give residents an insight into the project opened at the Town Hall on Saturday for two days and was then due to move to the district council offices in the Civic Square first thing on Monday morning.

But Philip Webster, from Townsend Drive, was left disappointed when he turned up at the Town Hall on Saturday morning. Although it was due to start at 10am, he claimed that the placards in the exhibition were only just being put up half an hour after the scheduled opening time.

And he was even more disgruntled when he saw the content of the exhibition which

consisted of eight placards displaying various themes and ideas discussed in the consultation and research process on subjects such as sustainability and leisure.

The public can register their interest in ideas by placing stickers next to them and the council hopes to use the feedback to help work out the priorities in the City Vision Project.

But Mr Webster said: "Pathetic is the most apt description I can think of. There are just a few boards with closely-printed information and hardly a map or plan worthy of description. It seems to me that the words exhibition and consultation seem not to bear any meaning to the district council."

Thinking that the full exhibition was not being displayed at the Town Hall, on Monday Mr Webster visited the council offices at 11.30am where it was due to have been on show since 9am.

But the exhibition was not up and he had to ask where it was. He says he was told that it would not be up before 1.30pm but it was then agreed that the exhibition would be put up straight away.

Mr Webster decided to revisit the exhibition later in the week rather than wait around.

He said on Monday: "I will have to make another trip later in the week but I am not hopeful of learning a great deal from what seems a very amateurish display. Surely a council of our size can do better than this!"

A spokesperson for the district council defended the display and explained that it was a preliminary exhibition based on the ideas thrown up in the consultation process and that a bigger exhibition would follow.

She said: "The exhibition shows the themes and issues the initial research has thrown up and we are asking residents to help us prioritise the main issues we should focus on."

She continued: "The consultation continues in late March with a bigger and more comprehensive exhibition when we unveil the main issues and options we need to address to take the city forward to a prosperous future. This will be a major exhibition and we will be aiming to attract a large number of residents to give us feedback so we can finalise the way forward."

The spokesperson said that the delay in getting the exhibition opened in the council offices in St Albans was due to it being transported from the Town Hall.

She added: "There were teething problems with setting up and moving the exhibition and we apologise if this caused any inconvenience.


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