Thursday, 17 December 2009

Thanet District Council consultations at TDCIT a vision of a brave new world?

I know I have been banging on about the core strategy consultation, but this is important because put simply, if enough of us respond it will effect how the council uses our council tax until 2026, the documents are not that easy to follow but it would appear that TDC want to put a disproportionately high amount of what is available into Margate and Cliftonville at the expense of other parts of Thanet.

For Ramsgate residents who want to ensure that Ramsgate gets a fairer slice of the cake I have put instructions to do this quickly and easily on the internet, the deadline for doing this is midnight tomorrow, click on the link if you want to do this http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/2009/12/thanet-district-council-consultation-or.html

Another consultation that expires at midnight tomorrow is Planning Obligations and Developer Contributions, this is about contributions that developers have to make to the local community, put simply, if a developer builds a new housing estate they can be forced to help pay for more school places near to it, or if a developer builds a new shopping centre they can be forced to help pay for a bus service so that people can get to it.

Once again TDCIT are not going to make it easy to respond, there is a form that you can’t actually fill out at http://consult.thanet.gov.uk/inovem/gf2.ti/f/1090/1445.1/pdf/-/SPD_Questionnaire1.pdf the document is available online at http://consult.thanet.gov.uk/inovem/consult.ti/local.plans/view?objectId=56884 and theoretically you can log in and comment there.

The way this document is published online doesn’t inspire much confidence, I have viewed it in various web browsers and the section headings part of the webpage (on the right) appears on top of the main part of the page so you can’t actually read all of it.

Would I be prepared to spend several hours wading through what is essentially a long and rather boring online question form on a website that I could see wasn’t written properly, as obviously if it crashed I would have to start all over again? Well the answer to that one is no.

In fact as I navigate it I have just reached the following by clicking on the back button: “There was a problem with your request You do not have permission to do that.”

The link to it is here if you want to have a look for yourself and even see how you get on with it http://consult.thanet.gov.uk/inovem/consult.ti/local.plans/view?objectId=56884

I hate to admit this but at this point I am giving up on responding to this consultation, I just don’t have enough time, if I could have written on the form and emailed it to TDC as per their instructions I would have done so. I can only conclude that this was designed for large developers with an office staff and plenty of money to pay for consultants.

I clicked on the TDC logo to get back to their homepage and was taken to page no found, which I think sums up the problem, they have written the thing but not actually tried to use it.

Having eventually got to the TDC homepage again I decided to click on the link that says, “Final reminder to say how you feel” it seemed appropriate somehow. This takes you to http://thanet.gov.uk/news/latest_press_releases/say_how_you_feel_reminder.aspx

This was a relatively simple form, a completely different format to the other one, and was about community safety and policing, as the street where I live and trade is now pretty much a no go area from the early evening when the drunks come out until 4am when the takeaways close, I thought I would give it a go.

The form was pretty straight forward and all went well, I thought most people would be able to understand the questions and I filled it in. only one problem though I didn’t get a confirmatory email saying that I had succeeded in submitting it. This is pretty much an IT industry standard, so I don’t know if my comments actually arrived.

Having done that I thought I would try the budget consultation this is at http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/consultation/your_district_you_decide.aspx as my confidence in the online form had been somewhat effected by my last experience, I thought I would download and complete the survey and email it back to the council, so I went to http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/Budget_Consultation_Survey_V4.pdf unfortunately once again it was a form that I couldn’t actually type on, so I have given up for the time being.

Next I got a feed from TDC which appeared on my sidebar about Draft Gambling Policy Consultation so I clicked on it and got to here http://www.thanet.gov.uk/advice__benefits/licences_and__trading/gambling_policy/draft_gambling_policy_2009.aspx and was amused to read the following: “An important part of the process in developing any new policy is to engage with residents and businesses which may be affected to give them an opportunity to give their views.”

Aaffected according to the thesaurus on MS Word this means; pretentious, artificial, exaggerated, la-di-dah, unnatural, pretentious, so perhaps that is where I am going wrong.

I am afraid to say that things now get even worse as far as TDCIT goes, I noticed the link to Thanet Matters on the TDC homepage and though I would read it over lunch. The online version is essentially just pictures of the 24 page council produced magazine. As I often publish several hundred pictures to the internet while I am having my breakfast I can assure you that it really isn’t that difficult.

For some reason that eludes me the council publish it only as a pdf file that needs special software to open which is a bit of a pain.

But some of the pages are so badly published that you can’t read them try the pie chart on page 14 for example, here is the link to it http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/Thanet_Matters_Winter09.pdf

Above is another government hat picture.

3 comments:

  1. I admire your tenacity, patience and long-suffering Michael - I would have given up much sooner. I should put your feet up over Christmas and switch off your computer and forget all about TDC for a few days - I'm pretty sure they won't be thinking about you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michael I think the time has come to allow Canterbury council to take over Thanet. TDC haven`t a clue!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Three - yes three attempts to get the consultation up on the screen on development gain...an utter nightmare?

    Then when I sent it, parts were missing despite having saved them as the on line form indicates. Having had things like this happen with TDC in the past I saved my comments

    Simon please get things like this to the public to try out first - as this was a very important consultation that I firmly believe has not had the appropriate responses from Joe Public.

    Malcolm

    ReplyDelete

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