Last night we posted a piece revealing that the statutory feedback date for the public consultation is already past and was on the 13th Sept.
This has come as a huge shock to our members as this date was not printed on any of the materials surrounding the exhibitions: the leaflets, the exhibition boards or the questionnaires themselves. Neither was it available through the community council websites and was nowhere to be found on the Craighouse Partnership website. In fact, unless you just so happened to be reading the Notices section of the Scotsman on the 25th of August (which also advertised a different feedback address -Montagu Evans not Invicta) you would probably – like us – have had no idea about this date at all.
We pointed out the serious implications of this: that any feedback received after the 13th September does not have to be included in the statutory report the developers send to the planners -(ie send through to the planning department and included in any pie-chart, statistical analysis etc) and could be sent in selectively. Any feedback from the second round of exhibitions that the developers are planning is therefore after the statutory date and hence could also be selectively used by the developers to support their case.
We asked three times for a proper commitment from the developers that all feedback received before or after the13th Sept whether sent to Montagu Evans, Invicta or direct to the developers would be included in the statutory report to the planners. Whilst they have said they would take all comments “into account”, they failed to give a commitment to include all feedback before or after the 13th in their statutory report.
We are happy to report that since this article appeared last night, the developers have sent us the following message:
“We propose to hold a second round of public consultation once our designs have been developed further. This will reflect the first round of consultation and the resultant comments received, both before and after 13 September 2011.
We are required to comply with various planning regulations in respect of pre-application consultation and we will continue to consult with the community and other interested parties as necessary. I have already advised you that all responses will be taken into consideration, both before and after 13th September. These will be presented to The City of Edinburgh Council in the form of a Pre-application Consultation (PAC) Report, to be lodged in support of our application.”
We would like to thank the developers for this which will come as a great relief to our members. We hope this consultation process can move on positively from here and that this might herald a more open engagement between the developers and the community in the future.
Our advice remains the same: The recommendation that we have been given is keep anything you say to the developers, (you can copy the Friends in if you like), as well as local politicians, and then resend it once the planning application is in.
The 21 days (we are told in this case 28) after the planning application is submitted to the planning department is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL. The Friends will do everything they can to keep our members and the public informed so that when that application goes in you can make your voice heard.