Previous correspondence: Letter to Deputy Chief Executive of EDC from KPS requesting written undertaking.
Copy of Mr Neil’s Letter to KPS – stating – ‘The Penrith Strategic Masterplan currently has no legal status and an eight week public engagement process is taking place …’
Enquiries to: Mr M Neal
Direct Dial: (01768) 212237
Date: 8 October 2018
Town Hall, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7QF Tel: 01768 817817
Mr A Hill Woodside Farm Brougham
Dear Mr Hill
Penrith Strategic Masterplan
Thank you for your letter dated 4 October 2018.
For the sake of completeness I should refer back to my earlier email to you of 3 October which stated:
“The Penrith Strategic Masterplan currently has no legal status and an eight week public engagement process is taking place to garner the public’s views about the proposals contained within it. Next week Councillors will be asked to approve the current emerging Eden Local Plan (2014-2032). In the event that the Strategic Masterplan (in its current or amended form) were to inform a Review of the Local Plan then an appropriate public consultation process would take place, informed by an updated Statement of Community Involvement in accordance with all relevant legal requirements.
I consider that the current process is lawful. It is an engagement process in relation to a non-statutory document.”
Whilst you make comment about the merits of whether it is a consultation or an engagement process, the overarching point is the current process is non-statutory. That is why on the Beacon Villages website and in the pop up shop and other public events it has been described as an engagement process in order to distinguish it from the formal legal consultation process that would apply to any future Local Plan review.
This is an entirely lawful process. This is not a consultation on a local plan document or supplementary planning document. If the Council were to use the Masterplan for the purpose of a revision of the Local Plan at a future point we would look further at how we would consult having regard to the legal requirements for that statutory process. On that basis I am content with the legal position.
I am of course fully aware of my duties as the Monitoring Officer. Clearly any future version of the Masterplan would have to take into account the outcome of any application for funding from the government for Garden Community status. The outcome of any application for funding is not clear and thus the two issues have been kept separate as part of the engagement process.
In terms of the survey monkey it is quite clear that the format of this will enable people to set out whatever representations they wish to make. People may choose to take part in the survey monkey and may choose not to. The Council is entitled to take account of the representations that arise from the survey monkey. I therefore see no basis for your request for an undertaking.
Date: 9 October 2018 at 06:12:06 BST
To: Matthew Neal <email@example.com>
Subject: Your letter of 8th October 2018
Dear Mr Neal,
Thank you for your letter dated 8th October 2018. Clearly it is pointless continuing to point out the reality of the legality of the Consultation issued by EDC to you as you seem absolutely determined to stop your ears.
Thank you for your previous confirmation that the consultation website http://www.beaconvillages.co.uk is a website where the content is controlled by EDC. Whilst we think we have a good record of all the changes that EDC have made to this website since the launch of the Consultation, which you insist on calling an Engagement, I would however be grateful if you could list these with the date and time and a description of precisely what has been changed, so we have an agreed complete record at least up to the date and time of your response. There appears to have been a number where words have been changed, text boxes added etc etc.
Thank you for your confirmation that you believe the Council is entitled to use the result of the biased survey monkey questionnaire. Could you please confirm firstly that the Council is working on preparing an application for Garden Village money from Homes England for submission in the current round which closes in early November and secondly that the intention of EDC would be to use to the responses from the survey monkey questionnaire as evidence of public opinion on the Masterplan in that application. Thirdly could you let me know whether our own campaign online and offline and that of the Friends of the Beacon will also be included as evidence of public opinion once delivered to EDC.
Could you also confirm that the intention of EDC is to close the survey monkey questionnaire as originally intended on or around 2nd November 2018 but to continue consulting with the people of Eden on the Masterplan until the end of December.
Thank you for your prompt response so far to my questions.
I will arrange for you letter of the 8th October and this letter to you to be posted on our website http://www.keeppenrithspecial.org today 9th October 2018.
Legal Opinion: Woefully inadequate consultation.