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Pitiful consultation, objections ignored, full steam ahead!

By the time I got to find out about the proposal to develop beach huts on the Downs (mid-December 2008) the Council seemed to be regarding it as pretty much a done deal. It had been “resolved” by the Executive, and the wheels had been put in motion. The site was being marketed; closing date for bids was late January; contract to be awarded soon after, with a view to having the huts ready for the 2009 summer season.

It was about this time that I started getting shocked and angry, and re-shocked and re-angry on a daily basis.

The Council’s total effort at “consultation” consisted of a small ad in the Public Notices section at the back of the Herne Bay Gazette. The Gazette (long may their organ prosper) has taken a healthy interest in this embryonic campaign, for which I am pleased and grateful. However, when all’s said and done, their circulation amounts to less than 10% of Herne Bay’s population, and only a few people actually read the Public Notices. In fact, out of all the people who signed the petition, only TWO had heard of the proposal (and one of them is a Councillor) amounting to about 1%.

Yes, dear reader, ONE PERCENT awareness amounts to effective public consultation in the hive-mind of CCC, and even that produced five objections (and no approvals). The objections were noted and then dismissed by the Executive who “resolved” to go ahead.

Now, this is one of the many areas that I need to understand better. I get the impression that once anything has been “resolved” by the Executive, it appears that they regard it as unchangeable and eternal, as if written on tablets of stone. I detect delusions of God-hood in the hive-mind. They seem to think that each and every decision they take is irreversible, regardless of whatever else may change in the real world around them.

So far there has been no pause for thought, no double-take, no head scratching, no notice taken of the sudden huge increase in objections. There has been no recognition, acceptance or regret that their preferred method of “consultation” is evidently woefully inadequate.

At the time of writing (Jan 27th, 2009), if everything’s running to timetable, all the bids are now in and CCC are picking the winner. The winning bidder will then apply to CCC for planning permission to go ahead with their winning bid. I assume CCC will support the planning application from the bid they chose.


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