Is The Draft Local Plan Questionnaire A Disgrace?
The Dragon Says article Silly Questions? Don’t Worry – Tell the Council Your Views Anyway is the voice of common sense.
Guildford Borough Council (GBC) should take a leaf from the medical profession’s book. Before a patient is invited to take a drug or undergo a surgical operation he should be in a position to give “informed consent”.
The doctor (GBC) has a duty to translate technical science into terms the patient (the public) can understand and take a view on.
Has the doctor explained what he is going to do to the patient? Or has he said, in effect, ‘this is going to hurt but trust me, it is necessary?’
When a patient asks, ‘What is diabetes?’, he does not deserve an answer which requires a medical dictionary and specialist training to understand.
This doctor has been telling thousands of citizens for decades that they can’t develop their properties because it affects the “openness of the green belt”. Now when the doctor wants to put whole new towns on the green belt he does not even come up with the required “exceptional circumstances” to justify what he wants to do.
GBC has not properly informed the public. Burying information within hundreds and hundreds of pages is not the the same thing. The people who have bothered to read the hundreds of pages tell us that the “evidence” is riddled with problems.
GBC’s reaction is to treat these people as trouble makers who must be circumvented. It seeks to legitimise what it is doing by claiming ‘force majeure’, by informal ‘public engagement’ and by seeking approbation from people who are not in a position to give ‘informed’ consent because they have never read even a fraction of the ‘evidence’.
Is this open, accountable, and transparent? Or is it a disgrace?
Ben Paton is a member of the Wisley Action Group (WAG)