Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Thanet Local Plan Referred to Plain English Campaign as a Poor Form

Is Thanet's Local Plan Consultation Fit for Purpose?
A complaint has been received by the Plain English Campaign.

This is copied from the Plain English site: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/news/1158-poor-form.html

Poor form
Last year we received numerous Golden Bull entries regarding overlong or badly written (or both) planning consultation forms.
2015 will probably be no different. A Thanet resident has sent in a complaint about a 263-page planning consultation document which is 'very hard to understand'. There's also a questionnaire, which runs to 99 pages.
It's worth pointing out that Thanet has the highest number of residents over age 65 in Kent. How likely is it then, all things considered, that many of Thanet's residents will read and respond to the consultation?
We've highlighted this issue before. When it comes to anything involving matters that will change the local environment, which local residents will be paying for, such planning documents and questionnaires need to be short, clear and easy to understand. No-one is going to, or should be expected to, read 263 badly written pages, or have two screens open in order to answer a questionnaire.
The resident who contacted us suggested that 'the reason it has be set out like this is to reduce the responses'. Could it be that the planned changes are likely to be unpopular, so the less everyone knows about them the better? That would make sense, and has certainly been the case in the past.
You can read this document online (or download as a PDF), and also view the questionnaire on the Draft Thanet Local Plan to 2031 - Preferred Options Consultation page of Thanet District Council's website.

Consultation Software Problems

For every question you answer you get the following email : I have been swamped with around fifty so far.

Thanet District Council Online Planning Consultations

Draft Thanet Local Plan to 2031 - Preferred Options Consultation

This is an automatic message. Please do not reply. Your response has been received.

Thank you for your participation.

You may view your response at any time using the following link. You may also change your response at any time until the questionnaire closes.

Other Problems
On returning to the questionnaire I have found it has lost some of my responses and I have had to enter them again.

With all these problems I can understand that most people will give up. I would therefore allege that this consultation is not fit for purpose.

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