Guide can help "impossible to navigate" St Albans Local Plan consultation

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 February 2018

Simon Grover

Simon Grover

Archant

Green campaigners have created a simple guide to the new Local Plan in response to "impossible to navigate" council documents.

Surveys have been delivered to every home in the district asking residents on their opinions on the proposed new St Albans planning blueprint.

The leaflets used Emojis to rank people’s ideas on the proposals, which include accommodation for 15,000 new homes in the district to be built before 2036 and a considerable loss of Green Belt land.

But many residents have found the consultation survey confusing.

Maddie York said: “I was pretty appalled by the survey. Happy and sad faces don’t strike me as an appropriate way to signal how important or not important you feel something is.”

Steve Clough agreed: “Can I say, the online response system is appalling. I did finish it, but it was so painful.”

The Green Party has now published its own guide to deciphering the consultation documents, and says it has already been downloaded by over 100 people.

Green party district councillor Simon Grover said: “Seeing the feedback on the council website, a lot of the comments are frustrations about how vague the questions are and how difficult it is to answer them. So we picked up on that and our own sources were asking what are the right answers.

“It is really hard to assign a rank to the questions - this is one, this is eight - so we came up with some helpful guidance. Not telling people what to do but giving people an idea what to say and why.”

Head of planning at SADC Tracy Harvey said: “The Local Plan consultation is going well and engagement with the public has been more successful than ever before. Within the first two weeks 1,335 people have responded, far more than in the past.

“We have to gather feedback and present it in a certain way, which is why we are using this particular software.

“We have made a few changes as a result of feedback to improve its function, but it’s not as easy to use as we would wish.

“That is why we decided to send a paper copy to every home in the district too. We welcome responses in either format.”

View and comment on the new Local Plan at http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/thelocalplan.aspx by February 21. See the Green Party guide at www.bitly.com/guide2plan

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