Home > Just and fair to all? > List of all reports/surveys/studies that the council intends to use as part of its Local Plan evidence base

List of all reports/surveys/studies that the council intends to use as part of its Local Plan evidence base


On 15th October 2013 a Freedom of Information request was made to Arun District Council, as follows:

“Can I please request a list of all reports/surveys/studies that the council intends to use as part of its Local Plan evidence base.

Where costs have been incurred in producing/commissioning these reports/surveys/studies can you please indicate the cost.”

Full details can be viewed here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/local_plan_evidence_base_and_cos#incoming-462248

In its response the council excluded information relating to the new settlement proposals for Ford Airfield (Eco Town).

However, the agenda for the Local Plan Sub Committee of 28th November 2013 stated:

“Additionally there was a Select Committee in relation to the site and its issues when it was proposed under the governments Eco Town proposals. The various papers that were discussed by the Select Committee also form part of the evidence base for the Local Plan…”

This raises some interesting questions:

  1. In the council’s response to this FOI request was the exclusion of  material relating to the Eco Town at Ford deliberate or inadvertent?
  2. Material relating to the Eco Town proposals does not appear on the Background Documents page of the council’s web site (which is what prompted the FOI request in the first place). Why has it been excluded?
  3. Are the public likely to be misled into thinking that information relating to the Eco Town proposals (including the council’s own Select Committee findings) does not form part of the council’s Local Plan evidence base?
  4. There is no link from the Background Documents page to the page with the Eco Town material (at 23rd December 2013). Is that likely to create a false impression amongst the public that the Eco Town material is not relevant to the Local Plan evidence base?
  5. How many public consultations have been conducted with this important  evidence effectively “hidden in plain sight” from members of the public who might have believed that all relevant evidence is published on the council’s Background Documents page?

In my submission to the next Local Plan consultation I will make the Planning Inspectorate aware that the council provided incomplete and therefore misleading information in response to this FOI request. They can decide its relevance.

It is a matter of public record that the council led a campaign against the Eco Town proposals and that: the Leader of Arun District Council, Cllr Mrs Gillian Brown, signalling the start of a council-led community campaign against the proposal said she was appalled that no account had been taken of the Council’s consistent and overwhelming objections to an eco-town at Ford.”

See Appendix 1 – Arun press release – Dismay at Eco Town announcement

It can therefore be argued that the findings of the Eco Town Select Committee were, in essence, predetermined. Why is this relevant? Because the council seeks to use the findings of its Eco Town Select Committee as justification against development on brownfield land at Ford, and instead, to justify development of large swathes of greenfield land across the district.

Could that explain why the council prefers to publish the Eco Town “evidence” without association to its Background Documents page?

In the meantime, it would be wise not to assume that all Background Documents are published on the council’s Background Documents page – look here too: http://www.arun.gov.uk/main.cfm?type=ECOTOWNS

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  1. John Penfold
    December 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Will you be asking for the Eco Town Scrutiny Committee evidence again ?

    • December 31, 2013 at 8:27 am

      It’s the council that will be relying on the Eco Town Select Committee evidence to justify it’s position.

      I think there are two issues here:

      1. The council supplied incomplete and therefore misleading information in response to an FOI request – that’s now with the ICO.
      2. Why didn’t the council supply an accurate list of evidence? Why is this evidence not included in the background documents page on the web site etc.? Is this an example of “hiding in plain sight”? (which might have the effect of keeping consultation comments from the public to a minimum)

      The council seeks to use the findings of its Eco Town Select Committee as it’s justification against development on brownfield land at Ford, and instead, to justify development of large swathes of greenfield land across the district.

      Therefore, how the council arrived at its decision not to develop Ford Airfield is highly relevant. It’s the process that needs scrutinising by the action groups but they seem to be more interested in population statistics! LOL!

  2. December 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    How lovely an old friend who lives in Bournemouth on my Facebook today liked a post in regard to Bournemouth council as I looked at the comments the electorate made I was so cheered that they put their selves out for the people after last evenings storm and worked and guess what they then thanked electorate for the comments and wished them happy Christmas now that’s what I call a proper council

  3. December 24, 2013 at 8:04 am

    High time these are held to task to much is underhand the electorate have a right to know roll on the elections as for XXXXX XXXX (moderated)who employed this idiot who never comes out of his office

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