Friday, 20 July 2018

Author claims process has been hijacked

A STATEMENT from the Shadow Neighbourhood Plan Group said it was made up of former parish councillor

A STATEMENT from the Shadow Neighbourhood Plan Group said it was made up of former parish councillor Neil Boddington, a planning consultant and Watlington resident since 1987, former councillor Rhian Woods, an architect who has been a resident since 1999 and Neil Mitchenall, a retail and leisure industry expert, and Watlington resident for a number of years.

It said: “We freely admit that our leaflet was provocative. It was deliberately so to get people’s attention. But it was produced as much in sadness as in anger.”

But in response to one of the questions raised by the Shadow Watlington Neighbourhood Plan group, the neighbourhood plan forum admits that information on a leaflet advertising its roadshows should have been presented more carefully.

The forum said the leaflet was approved by the neighbourhood plan steering committee and said: “The aim was to show clearly that there is a difference in the number of new homes required between a scheme which includes a new second road through Watlington and a scheme which does not.

“There was absolutely no intention to lead anyone to prefer either option. The information was simply stating the facts. It is clear now that the information should have been presented more carefully in order to avoid any misinterpretation. Please accept our apologies for this mistake.”

The shadow group is now calling for details of meetings to be made public. The statement continued: “We would like to see minutes of meetings we know Watlington neighbourhood plan has held with developers and the data from the special consultation carried out with Marlbrook residents. If all parts of the community had been given equal weighting, there would not have been a need for our leaflet. We simply believe that the democratic process should not be hijacked by a small, interest group.”

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