Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Cornwall Council pledges real consultation over local transport plan

Today's Cabinet meeting considered the consultation scheme for the new Local Transport Plan. I've blogged before about how the draft document seems to be promising motherhood and apple pie. In fact, reading it reminded me of 'Tomorrow's World' - the programme in which the future was all rosy, everything was possible and money was never mentioned.

At today's meeting, I raised the issue of consultation, explaining that I didn't think the current consultation document was as good as it should be - although the consultation methods including lots of face to face interviews are really good.

I queried whether consulting people about the vision of a green and comprehensive infrastructure (which I think will be universally welcomed) was as important as asking them about their priorities once the level of spending that we will be allowed becomes known in the autumn.

There was good news on this front as the Cabinet pledged to hold a second consultation event on the same level as the first on the details of the first implementation plan which will have all the facts and figures and which will show what can be done in the first three years (out of twenty).

Consultation events are expensive and I felt that the two could be combined into one without the loss of any clarity in the outcome.

I remain worried that this plan (if approved) will be over such a long timescale that there will be no accountability for failure and that many of the suggestions are simply never going to be affordable and are not properly explained. Some of the people at today's meeting were talking about opening up the rail lines which were closed in the 1960s. It would be great if that happened, but there is no chance of government funding allowing it to happen. Rail lines cost millions per mile.

But I don't want to knock the vision itself which is a huge step forward.

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