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 Post subject: The Dutch are coming, run for the hills (or any high ground)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Selsey West Sussex
As if the residents of Selsey did not have enough to deal with, a local community partnership group (whose membership brings together the likes of Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB etc (usual suspects)) have invited a group of Dutch town planners and engineers to the Peninsula to discuss the future of our coastal defences. The last time these guys turned up (unsurprisingly) they found in favour of managed realignment, who saw that one coming???? So now that our coast defence strategy is released and this supposed community group are needing to put together a response, they have asked Van the man and his team back to help them formulate their response.

Not only does the neutrality of this event have to be questioned, given the make up of the panel and the distinct lack of UK consultants (who might actually know this area topographically and economically) but it also gives the statutory consultees a second bite of the consultation apple, this time under the guise of a 'community group'.

What hope is there for any of us living on the coast when everywhere you turn there is a whiff of conspiracy floating in the air?

Save Our Selsey, which has a membership in excess of 1500 local residents, has refused to take part in what is clearly another opportunity for the realignment fans to bash our coastline and has put together a response to the 'Going Dutch' panel, a copy of which can be downloaded/viewed at http://www.saveourselsey.org.


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 Post subject: Re: The Dutch are coming, run for the hills (or any high ground)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:47 pm
Posts: 4
My experience of trying to contructively engage local politicans and executive representatives of interested offical parties in my neck of the woods (Seasalter, Kent) has, on balance, been a frustrating one, and I have some sympathy with your decision to refuse to take part in consultation you consider to be flawed, or inspired by dubious intention.

In theory at least, central government is committed to greater public involvement in the design and delivery of public services. However, if such a commitment is to be meaningful it must surely pertain to issues such as sea defence policy which have such extreme implications for those affected. There is no shortage of guidance on what consultation/engaement should look like - either in principle, or in the specific case of Shoreline Management Planning (SMP). Procedural guidance for the latter advocates proper participation for communities involving capacity building, and that such activity should take place prior to the commencement of SMP. My experience suggests little genuine appetite for such an approach here, however. To my mind this reluctance will only be addressed once our political masters are pushed to breaking their collective silence on this issue, so keep up the pressure.


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