SCHOOLS MERGER ANGER
Last Updated on Monday, 03 October 2011 15:55 Written by Gordon Neish Friday, 30 September 2011 15:26
|< Prev||Next >|
THERE is increasing anger over a lack of publicity for meetings about Dunoon’s proposed super-campus.
Drop-in meetings were held on September 16 in Dunoon’s Queen’s Hall and September 20 in Dunoon Grammar School. These events featured displays about the proposed development at Ardenslate and gave a chance for people to raise concerns with council officials as part of a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC).
However, the only local publicity given to these important meetings was in a nine centimetre public notice published in the Standard of September 9. The meetings were also featured on the council’s website.
One Kirn Primary parent said: “We should have been told about this important meeting by the school. Why there wasn’t a letter sent home with the children I don’t know.”
Another concerned parent, Mrs Capewell, said: “I attended both of the venues advertised with regards to the proposed development and was taken aback to find it so poorly attended. I don’t believe for a minute that this is because the people of Dunoon have no interest in such an issue, I believe this is because of the poorly advertised meetings on the council’s part, I feel this has been done deliberately to keep the community of Dunoon as uninformed as possible and this has enraged me and many others that I have spoken to since.”
An Argyll and Bute Council spokeswoman said: “The drop-in events were publicised both in the local media and on the council’s website.
“They were designed to allow people to raise issues and make comments. All feedback received during the 12 week PAC period will help refine the proposals and will contribute to the full business case currently being prepared.”
We asked if the council was happy with attendance at the drop-in meetings and the spokeswoman responded: “We are still at a relatively early stage in this process. There will be opportunities to contribute at a later date to statutory consultation either as required by planning legislation or the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
“Public consultation meetings would happen as part of the statutory consultation process, which would be held if the council approves the full business case and progresses with a joint campus proposal in the future.
“Members of the public can continue to submit their comments on the proposal throughout the PAC period, which ends on October 24 2011.
“This can be done either through the online form on the council’s website by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Argyll and Bute Council, Facility Services, Argyll House, Alexandra Parade, Dunoon PA23 8AJ.”
Drop-in events are increasingly used by public bodies as an alternative to oftern-confrontational public meetings.
Typically, they feature a display or exhibition of contentious proposals and last a number of hours, or sometimes a full day. Members of the public typically attend for a short while, look at the proposals, ask questions of frightened-looking ‘customer service managers’ and leave their comments on specially printed forms which easily allow boxes to be ticked at a later part of the consultation.
The notion of those who wish to introduce unpopular measures having to justify their proposals and face tough questioning at an old-fashioned public meeting seems to be out of favour – with public bodies…