OPINION: Who submitted West Street surveys?

Paul Kornycky – Rudgwick resident

In Cllr Helena Croft’s response (published in last week’s District Post) to Nik Butler’s ‘Yellow Sick Road’ article the week before, she expressed sadness over his apparent cynicism to the West Street enhancements (total budget £697,000).

That cynicism may or may not be well founded. But why must HDC grossly misrepresent the public’s input to the design? Cllr Croft wrote ‘focussing on one element, the paving’ and ’the design came from very strong input from over 600 members of the public’. Fortunately a Freedom of Information request revealed the true consultation figures. Yes, 566 people did attend the exhibition, but only 126 submitted a questionnaire, of which just 73 chose the ‘wave paving’.

Her article also lays great store over £80,000 private investment triggered by the works. This is undoubtedly good news but must be put into context. To secure the funding from the WSCC Kick Start Fund, HDC projected (but never bothered to tell us) that the completed works would trigger £2,000,000 private investment & generate 35 full time jobs. So this initial amount represents just 4% of HDC’s estimate for such investment & none of the jobs. We can only hope that HDC don’t try the same ‘spin tactics’ when presenting the results of the recent Housing Strategy consultation! No wonder the political classes find the Freedom of Information facility ‘inconvenient’. Without it we might all be thinking ‘who are those 600 strong minded residents’? In reality we now know that there are only 73 wavy-paved yellow sick (sic) road protagonists. Phew!

P.S. Apologies to the (at least) 8 residents (included in the 73!) who were ‘forced’ to choose the wave paving option as the online form would not let them proceed on a ‘none of the above’ basis.

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