Is this what Harlow Council calls consultation?

Harlow Council’s dismal attempts to consult with residents continue despite the Community Engagement Strategy adopted by the Council earlier this year.

The Council recently completed its consultation about the future of The Playhouse Square. Cllr Swords reported that consultation had taken place with 55,000 residents and 130 stakeholders but who knew about this consultation? Did it appear in the Harlow Times, no, were Residents Associations asked to inform their members, no, was any information placed on the council owned notice boards dotted around the town, no, was the consultation document produced in any other language, no.

It comes as no surprise then that just 240 responses were received, and 499 comments made, at most just a 1.4% return from those consulted. It is clear that this has just been another tick box exercise carried out by the Council and far from the responses strengthening the Council’s bid as claimed by Cllr Swords, it might be the opposite.

The Council has clearly not learnt lessons from the past, we can only hope that if the bid to Government is successful, it undertakes a much better attempt to consult with residents before any money is spent on vanity projects.